Capital City Pride Announces Award Winners at First-Ever Pride Gala & Awards Ceremony

DES MOINES, IA – On Friday, February 23rd, Capital City Pride recognized six individuals and five organizations for their support and encouragement of the local LGBTQ community at the inaugural Pride Gala and Awards Ceremony. Hosted by Des Moines Public Schools Superintendent, Tom Ahart, money raised at this sold out event helps fund upcoming Capital City Pride events including the CCP Book Club, Speaker Series, and PrideFest.

“The quality and quantities of nominations we received for our first-ever Pride Gala & Awards Ceremony was absolutely incredible,” said Dan Jansen, Vice President, Capital City Pride. “To have the opportunity to come together and show our thanks to those who go above and beyond for our community is an honor in and of itself. And we are proud that Des Moines is home to so many who stand with us and for us.”

2018 Pride Man of the Year – Nate Monson, Executive Director of Iowa Safe Schools

2018 Pride Woman of the Year – Liz Bennett, Iowa House of Representative for District 65

2018 Pride Ally of the Year – Debbie Griffin, Senior Minister of Downtown Disciples

2018 Pride Ally of the Year – Scott Heldt, Director of Development & Communications at Iowa Safe Schools

2018 Pride Ally of the Year – Tom Ahart, Superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools

2018 Most Active Volunteer – Mark Turnage, Registrar at Iowa Safe Schools

2018 Best Event, PR, and Communications – One Iowa

2018 Company Diversity and Inclusion – Iowa Safe Schools

2018 Pride Company Ally – Wellmark

2018 Pride Company Ally – Meredith Corporation

2018 Pride Company Ally – Bankers Trust

“Thank you to Capital City Pride for this incredible recognition,” said Nate Monson, Executive Director of Iowa Safe Schools. “Pride is an important celebration for our community and for many of us, it is the first event where we can be who we truly are whether someone identifies as a man, woman, genderqueer, genderfluid, non-binary, two-spirit or agender. Events like the Pride Gala, CCP Book Club, and the Speakers Series improve our community and build a better foundation for all of us.”

“It is truly an honor to be designated as Pride Woman of the Year,” said Liz Bennett, State Representative, Iowa House District 65. “I’m grateful to everyone who has supported me in working for a fair and inclusive Iowa, and even in a time where it seems like we are going backwards, I’m encouraged to see so many people working for an Iowa that works for everyone.”

“Meredith is so pleased to be a recipient of this award,” said Jennifer McCoy, Director of Corporate Communications, Meredith Corporation. “From inclusive employee benefits to activities such as participating in the annual Pride Parade, hosting Pride educational sessions, funding LGBTQ initiatives, and conducting a panel discussion on Transgender 101, we are proud to support the LGBTQ community and our many LGBTQ employees.”

The Pride Gala & Awards ceremony was made possible by sponsors: Meredith Corporation, Wellmark, Bankers Trust, Ben Easter Photography, Des Moines Injury Law Firm, Pride Sports League, NAGAA, PHC Inc., Iowa Safe Schools, The Blazing Saddle, Garden Nightclub, J & D Restaurants, Temple for Performing Arts, Crème Cupcake Desserts, Stuart Alexander Productions, and One Iowa.