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Iowa Character Awards

Let’s work together to bring attention to what makes Iowa great – our people! Our Character Awards highlight Iowa’s role models, and you can help make sure the deserving individuals/organizations in your life are recognized.

Your nomination makes a big impact! By submitting our quick and easy nomination form, you’re helping deserving Iowans receive meaningful recognition. Award recipients will be announced this summer.

Special Thanks to Our Partners:

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Awards Process

Writing Your Nomination

Besides telling us who you’re nominating, you’ll answer three prompts:

    1. Introduce us to your nominee.
    2. How has the nominee impacted your life and/or the lives of others?
    3. In what ways do you feel the nominee demonstrates trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and good citizenship?

      You’ll also be able to attach supporting materials, like letters of recommendation, newspaper articles, etc.

Nomination Tips

You don’t have to complete the form all at once. Create a username/password to save your nominations and return to it later.

Give examples. A successful nomination will include specific examples of the nominee showing good character.

Ask for help. You don’t have to complete the nomination alone. Ask the nominee’s friends, families, or co-workers for examples of the nominee’s good character. You can also attach letters of recommendation.

Who Can Be Nominated?

Individuals, organizations, and communities who have not received an Iowa Character Award in the last 5 years are eligible.

Previous nominees and Honorable Mention recipients are eligible.

Youth nominees should be between the ages of 10 -19 as of May 1, 2024.

Who Can Nominate?

Anyone can submit a nomination.  You can nominate family, friends, co-workers, and community members.  You can nominate your own school, organization, or company.


Being recognized for good character is a big deal! We’ll make sure nominees and recipients are honored in meaningful ways.

All nominees will receive a formal certificate of recognition, and we’ll celebrate our award recipients in three ways.

  • Award recipients will receive their awards at the 2024 Iowa Character Awards dinner in July 2024.
  • Award recipients will be featured in a one-hour Iowa Character Awards prime-time special that will air summer/fall 2024.
  • Award recipients will be honored in their hometowns during a special event organized by The Ray Center.

Who Would You Like to Nominate?

Presented to individuals who consistently demonstrate good character.

Presented to individuals who consistently demonstrate good character.

This award is presented to an educator or administrator who impacts students by using innovative character education practices. 

The Jim Hallihan Pursuing Victory with Honor Award is presented to an athletic team or athletic organization that consistently shows good character.  

This award is presented to a school or district that who impacts students by using innovative character education practices. 

This award is presented to a student organization that consistently shows good character.

Presented to a company or organization that demonstrates good character through their work. 

Get Started Today!

Nominations for 2024 are due on May 1.

Iowa Character Awards

Iowa Character Awards have been presented since 2005.


Award Categories


Iowans make up the volunteer award selection committee. 

2022 Award Recipients

Katie Hernandez, Des Moines
Citizen of Character Award
Katie hernandez
Luanne Kustra, Carroll
Citizen of Character Award
Luanne Kustra
Andrew Genz, Muscatine
Character Educator Award
Andrew Genz
Iowa State University Athletics, Ames
Jim Hallihan Award
Victory Day with ISU Athletics
Schuler Elementary School, Atlantic
School of Character
Schuler Elementary
Fairfield Student Council, Fairfield
Student Organization of Character
Fairfield Student Council
Southwest Iowa Planning Council, Atlantic
Organization of Character
Community of Character

2022 Specialty Award Recipients

These awards are annually chosen by The Ray Center’s National Advisory Council and team.

Bud Hockenburg, Des Moines
Ray Pillar of Character Award
Bud Hockenberg
Iowa Farm Bureau
Partner of the Year
Partner - Farm Bureau
Renee Murphy, Ankeny
Character Champion Award
Renee Murphy
Zackry Brennan, Belmond
Aaron Eilerts Community Service Award
Zackry Brannen

Past Award Recipients