YWRC Kids Laughing

Louise Rosenfield Noun Awards

As part of our YWRC Gala celebration, we honor community members who strive to empower girls and women throughout Greater Des Moines with the Louise Rosenfield Noun Impact and Louise Rosenfield Noun Visionary Awards. (Nominations for the 2021 awards have closed.)


Dr. Barbara Adams, 2021 Louise Rosenfield Noun Impact Awardee

The Louise Rosenfield Noun Impact Award honors a Greater Des Moines community member for the significant contributions they have made toward the empowering of girls and young women through direct service, programming and/or mentorship. This person identifies areas of inequity and seeks collaboration to build solutions ensuring rights, opportunities and choice for marginalized populations. They strive towards gender equity, inspire others to join them in their cause, and have a direct positive impact for the community we serve.

“Barb strives to inspire girls to accept others, stand up for their beliefs, set ambitious goals, and have the confidence to accomplish great things. Whether she is interacting with a child, conferring with teachers, or conducting strategic planning with a community organization, Barb demonstrates values, beliefs, and attitudes which inspire others to higher levels of performance. She believes in empowering girls and young women to seek a life filled with possibilities and inspires her colleagues to do the same.” 

We are excited to begin the tradition of the Impact Award in 2021.


Rekha Basu, 2021 Louise Rosenfield Noun Visionary Awardee

The Louise Rosenfield Noun Visionary Award honors advocates, activists, innovators and philanthropists whose contributions and/or body of work have made significant contributions toward empowering girls and young women. The legacy of Louise is honored when the work of a nominee supports/informs the empowerment of girls and women. This work is exemplified by the nominee’s passionate belief in the purpose of empowerment, imagination toward what the result of their work will look like, strong sense of values guiding the work, ability to inspire others and activism toward achieving it.

“Rekha has been a voice for women for decades… she has been a resounding voice for women to seek and find justice. Rekha represents the needs and best interests of women and girls within the political, economic, and social power structures. Because of her investigative doggedness and passion for truth, the voice of young women in Iowa has been lifted and strengthened.” 

Previously honored Louise Rosenfield Noun Visionary awardees include (in order of year received): Lorraine May, R. Lucia Riddle, Rebecca Shaw M.D., Dr. Mary Chapman, Wanda Everage, Sharon Malheiro, Julie McGuire, Mary Brubaker, Roxanne Conlin, Judge Artis Reis, Jo Oldson, Barbara Mack, Susan Knapp, Judy Bradshaw, Jann Freed, Mary Lynne Jones, Sandy Hatfield Clubb, Connie Boesen, Dr. Deborah Ann Turner, Deidre DeJear and Katie Patterson.


In 1978, a group of visionary women, led by feminist and philanthropist Louise Rosenfield Noun, founded the Young Women’s Resource Center. The 70-year-old Louise had already been the president of the League of Women Voters and the Iowa Civil Liberties Union, had founded the Iowa Women’s Political Caucus and the Des Moines chapter of the National Organization for Women, and had financed the landmark Supreme Court case Tinker v. Des Moines, but she looked at the city and saw an inequality that she was determined to combat.

It was with that sentiment in mind that the YWRC was founded as a place where girls and young women could find resources that would support them in achieving their own goals. It was Louise’s vision that the YWRC be a positive place for all girls and young women to become strong, self-confident and resilient.