About Character Counts In Iowa

Character Counts In Iowa is a non-profit organization in Des Moines, Iowa.

We’re here to promote civility and help Iowans practice and recognize good character.

Founded in 1997, we are a non-profit organization housed at Drake University in Des Moines, IA.  Our efforts began with one elementary school in West Des Moines and  as of 2012, we have worked with more than 33,000 Iowa educators, coaches, and community leaders.

Our mission is to recognize, enhance and sustain the positive qualities of Iowans in order to promote civility through character development and our vision is that every Iowan embrace and practice good character by demonstrating trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.

We believe that character counts in:

Building character starts at home.  Good character doesn’t just happen - it is an outcome of parents’ efforts to lay a strong foundation of character in their families.

Cities and towns throughout Iowa are passionately promoting good character.  Efforts range from helping Little League coaches teach good sportsmanship to posting banners throughout the community, and much more!

Many Iowa companies are focusing on excellence and ethics in the workplace by including character in their company’s values and providing professional development to bring their mission, vision and value to life.

We work hand-in-hand with thousands of Iowa educators to incorporate character education into their school, youth and athletic programs.


Check out a short video that tells more about our mission:

(Or watch the video on YouTube here)


Our National Partners

We proudly serve as a Regional Center for both CHARACTER COUNTS! and the Institute for Excellence & Ethics.  Using these two projects as our foundation, we promote civility and character development to Iowa communities, workplaces, schools and families.

CHARACTER COUNTS!, created by the Josephson Institute, is the most widely implemented character education program and reaches millions of youth each year.Built on the Six Pillars of Character (trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring & citizenship), CHARACTER COUNTS! is a character education framework that is adaptable throughout schools and communities.

Our partnership with CHARACTER COUNTS! brings the following resources to Iowa:

  • Professional development for educators, businesses and community members who want to start a CHARACTER COUNTS! initiative.
  • The Iowa CHARACTER COUNTS! Evaluation Tool (ICCET) helps determine the level of CHARACTER COUNTS! implementation at a school.


Institute for Excellence & Ethics (IEE)
As the first Regional Center for the Institute of Excellence & Ethics, we collaborate with IEE on research, program development and dissemination of resources to Iowa schools, businesses and communities.

Our partnership with the Institute for Excellence & Ethics brings the following resources to Iowa:

  • Power2Achieve:  This school curriculum provides flexible modules for college, career and citizenship readiness.
  • Professional development featuring tools and strategies for shaping an engaging, safe, and supportive learning environment.
  • The Culture of Excellence & Ethics Assessment :  an assessment of your school or organization to measure the culture needed for an engaging and successful climate.




Power2Achieve, Culture of Excellence & Excellence and Culture of Excellence & Ethics Assessment are trademarks of the Institute for Excellence & Ethics.  CHARACTER COUNTS!, the Six Pillars of Character and Pursuing Victory with Honor are service marks of the Josephson Institute.


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1213 25th Street     |     Des Moines, IA 50311     |     515-271-1910     |     Email Us

© 2013 Character Counts In Iowa