We are always accepting applications for individual and organizations championing civil and human rights in Iowa.  Nominate a civil rights hero today!  The next awards luncheon is scheduled for October 2017


Congratulations to our 2016 Friends of Iowa Award Recipients!

George Belitsos
George Belitsos 2016 Individual Award
Kathryn Smith 2016 Youth Award
Kathryn Smith
2016 Youth Award













George P. Belitsos is the founder and, since his retirement in 2015, has been Chief Executive Of cer Emeritus of Youth and Shelter Services, Inc. which serves to help communities make sure all young people are ready for life. The organization has received numerous local, state, and national awards for its service over the past several years. Over the past ve years, Dr. George co-founded AFFIRM, which focuses on advocating for best practice services for LGBTQ youth in the Child Welfare System and working towards making all foster homes more welcoming. Dr. George also currently serves as the Chair of the Iowa Network Against Human Traf cking, the co-chair of the Central Iowa Service Network Against Human Traf cking, and is a board member for numerous organizations that actively champion for civil rights.

Kathryn Smith is a senior at Iowa State University (ISU) studying Public Relations with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. Since beginning college in 2012, Katie has been passionate and hard working on the civil rights front, joining the ISU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Ally Alliance (ISU LGBTA Alliance) executive team as the public relations and advertising chair in 2014 and then becoming president in 2015. Katie also received the W. Houston Dougharty Ally Award presented at the ISU Gender and Sexuality Equity Awards in 2015 for her work in the LGBT+ community. Katie was inducted into the LGBT+ inclusive sorority, Gamma Rho Lambda, in 2016, and she also took part in the ISU LGBTSS Speakers Bureau panel.

FRIENDS of Iowa Civil Rights has a long history of recognizing civil rights champions. The Friends of Iowa Civil Rights awards are based on significant contributions in promoting civil rights in Iowa during the past five years. Award recipients are chosen from the following categories:

Non-Profits/Community Organizations
Youth/Young Adult

Past Friends Awards Recipients
2015 Recipients
-Des Moines University
-Iowa Legal Aid
-World Food Prize (Elizabeth Kruidenier Lifetime Acheivement Award)

2014 Recipients
-Tami Haught
-Judith Morrell
-U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (Elizabeth Kruidenier Lifetime Acheivement Award)

2013 Recipients
– Dr. Michele Devlin
– Dr. Mark Grey
– Lt. Joe Gonzalez (Elizabeth Kruidenier Lifetime Acheivement Award)
2012 Recipients
– The African American Museum of Iowa
– Chrysalis
– The Iowa Pride Network
2011 Recipients
– Jan Beran
– Senator Michael Gronstal
– Ralph Rosenberg, JD
– Frederick Seay
– Davis Brown Law Firm
2010 Recipients
– Dr. Nicholas Pace
– Youth and Shelter Services, Inc.
2009 Recipients
– Sharon Malheiro
2009 Special Recognition for Unprecedented Service:
– Rev. Robert Cook
– Dr. Tom Narak
– Fort Des Moines Museum and Education Center
2008 Recipients
– Rev. Robert Knight, Jr
– Deanna Lehl
– Women’s Resource and Action Center, University of Iowa
2007 Recipients
– Mercy Medical Center
2007 Special Recognition for Unprecedented Service:
– H. Ted Coppock
– Michael Early
– J. Barry Griswell
– Jerry Hadenfeldt
– Marcia Nichols
– Mark Rosenbury
– Michael Sadler
– Thomas E. Stanberry
– Connie Wimer
2006 Recipients
– Sam Carbajal
– Judy Haley Giesen
– Des Moines Choral Society
– Iowa EXPORT Center of Excellence on Health Disparities
– Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa
2005 Recipients
– Nancy Bobo
– Martha Garcia
– Tess Judge-Ellis
– Heather Shank
– Emily Frerichs
– Lance Pemberton
– Iowa Council for International Understanding
2004 Recipients
– Charlotte Nelson
– David Meeks
– Donald Rowan
– George Peters
– Harry Scott
– Kathy Collins
– Norma Bosley
– Rev. Reasby
– New Iowans Program
– The Legal Center for Special Education
– Waterloo Commission on Human Rights
– White Privilege Conference
2003 Recipients
– Thomas Determan
– Rich Eychaner
– Leo Prieto
– Len Sandler
– Asian American Council
– GLBT Task Force
– American Republic Insurance Company
– Meredith Corporation
– Townsend Engineering
2002 Recipients
– Johnie Hammond
– Warren Morrow
– Maria Rundquist
– Sandra Sanchez
– American Friends Service Committee
– Eddie Moore, Jr.
– Bankers Trust
– Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc
– Podelefsky Law Firm
– Iowa Asian Alliance
– Outside In
2001 Recipients
– Oscar Argueta
– Sergio Corona
– Lena Robison
– Latinos Unidos of Iowa, Inc.
– Healthy Henry County Communities’ Diversity Action Committee
– Mary Treglia Community House
– Wells Fargo & Co.
– City of Des Moines
– Don Nickerson
– Manjari Saha/Chair, Friends of Iowa Civil Rights, Inc
2000 Recipients
– United Parcel Service
– Richard Hayes
– Howard and Florence Eldrenkamp
– Ruby Sutton
– Ruth Ann Gaines
– Honorable Thomas J. Vilsack, Governor
1999 Recipients
– Royce Barnum
– Ed O’Leary
– Sylvia Tijerina
– Des Moines Diversity Chorus
– St. Mark Community Center
– Cedar Valley Diversity Appreciation Team
– Honorable Sally Pederson, Lt. Governor
– Jonathan Wilson
1998 Recipients
– Elizabeth “Libbie” Creger
– Nancy Nauman
– Langston Hughes Players & B. John Burns
– Heidi Bagg
– Mark Willits
– Wanda Everage
1997 Recipients
– Greg Naylor
– Rosa Maria de Findlay
– CENEX Land O’Lakes
– Avery Brothers Sign Company
– Creative Visions
– Iowa Protection and Advocacy Services, Inc.
– First Friday Breakfast Club, Inc.
– Marshalltown Diversity Committee
– The Honorable Terry E. Branstad, Governor
– The Principal Financial Group Foundation, Inc.