WEST DES MONES, IA (TUESDAY, MAY 23, 2023) – The West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce (WDM Chamber) is thrilled to announce both the opening of event registration as well as the selection of the nonprofit donation recipient for the third annual Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Workplace Excellence Awards (DEI Awards).

Can Play, founded by Melissa Clarke-Wharff and Dylan DeClerck, has been selected as the recipient of the Nonprofit Donation for the 2023 DEI Awards. Can play’s mission is to “bring adapted and no cost recreational programs to our communities by removing barriers to play.”

Dylan DeClerck said, “Can Play appreciates this recognition from the West Des Moines Chamber and is excited to continue to bring adapted and no cost recreational programs to our community by removing barriers to play. Our goal is that regardless of the barriers youth in West Des Moines face they should get the opportunity to play, learn and grow. Can Play is where play has no limits.”

Additionally, award applications close June 1 for this community-fueled event. More than 70 nominations have been submitted in the past - all reviewed by a judges panel of community leaders. The selected recipients’ stories are shared to a room of 350+ community members at the awards event on September 7, with the purpose of inspiring more individuals and organizations to take the next step on their DEI journey.

The 2023 DEI Awards categories include:

  • Small Business: 1-49 employees

  • Medium Business: 50 – 249 employees

  • Large Business: 250 and above

  • Nonprofit

  • Government

  • Education Sector

  • DEI Leader of the Year

  • DEI Emerging Leader of the Year: age 39 and under

  • DEI Student Leader of the Year

  • DEI Ally of the Year

  • Best Inclusion Initiative

Businesses, organizations, and individuals from across Central Iowa can apply here any time before the deadline of June 1 at 5 PM. The award recipients will be announced in July and celebrated at an event on Thursday, September 7 from 4:30 – 8:00 PM at the Community Choice Convention Center.

Community members can register here for the program. Registration is open now and seats sell quickly.  

The WDM Chamber’s vision is to make West Des Moines the best suburban city in America to live, work, and play—for all. This means the community and region at large must work together to make inclusion a priority. The Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Workplace Excellence Awards is one of the many ways the chamber hopes to further DEI efforts and increase workforce attraction.

In addition to our 2023 DEI Workplace Excellence Award Chair, Gilmara Vila-Nova Mitchell, the DEI Awards are made possible thanks to leaders and organizations aligning with these important inclusion initiatives. These include the Minority Leader Scholarship Sponsor: IMT Insurance; Awards Partner – Gold Sponsor: American Enterprise Group; Advocate Sponsor: Sammons Financial Group; and Champion Sponsors: Merchants Bonding Company, NCMIC, Simpson College, and Turner Construction. Contact Kara Matheson for more information on partnership opportunities.

To learn more about the DEI Awards, visit the WDM Chamber’s website.


About the WDM Chamber of Commerce
The mission of the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce is to champion all things West Des Moines by strengthening our area companies, providing personalized resources and attracting a top workforce to position WDM as the best suburban city in America. With 700+ members, we provide something for everyone. Learn more about the chamber and how to get involved at

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