Governor Polis Announces 2022 Governor’s Citizenship Medal Recipients

Tuesday, November 15, 2022


Annual award honors top community leaders from around the state 


DENVER - Today, Governor Polis and CiviCo, a nonprofit that cultivates civic-minded leaders, announced the recipients of the 2022 Colorado Governor’s Citizenship Medals. Each year, the Governor awards the Citizenship Medals to citizens and organizations who inspire excellence and public service. Gov. Polis announced six recipients for 2022 who will be honored on January 26, 2023 as part of Colorado Leadership Month. 

The medals, established in 2015 and inspired by the Presidential Medal of Freedom, represent the highest honor recognizing significant contributions to communities across Colorado. Each of the 2022 medal recipients shares the same values: they are people who put people first. 


“I am honored to have the opportunity to recognize the recipients with this award and highlight all you have done for Colorado. The important award categories allow us to select recipients from different sectors that all play a unique role in uplifting our communities through innovation and hard work. The recipients truly embody leadership and are driven to make Colorado an even better place to live,” said Governor Polis. “On behalf of all Coloradans, thank you for your dedication to building a Colorado that can be enjoyed for generations to come.”


The 2022 categories and six recipients are: 

● Vanguard Legacy Award—Federico Peña 

● Emerging Community Leader Medal —Mitchell Mauro 

● Public and Community Service Award—Ed Perlmutter 

● Growth and Innovation Award—Amy Schwartz and Kelly Leid, Founders of the STEAD School 

Corporate Citizenship Medal —Ball Corporation 

Colorado Mountain Leader Medal —Clela Rorex


“The 2022 medal recipients are emblematic of CiviCO’s vision to support people who put people first,” said Jennifer Landers, executive director of CiviCO. “We are honored to partner with Governor Polis and former governors to celebrate these outstanding leaders who have devoted so much to our beloved state.” 

Additional 2022 category and recipients details: 

Vanguard Legacy AwardFederico Peña, Lifetime Civic Leader and Champion for Equity 

Honoring a business or community leader who has made transformational contributions to the community throughout his or her career. 

Federico Peña has demonstrated visionary leadership and dedication to civic engagement for generations, from his tenure as a state legislator, the city’s first Hispanic mayor beginning in 1983 to holding two federal cabinet positions. Starting his career as a civil rights attorney, Peña has brought his commitment to equity and justice into his work in private equity and through serving on numerous corporate and non-profit boards. Amid a recession in the early 1980s, Federico Peña’s optimistic vision for Denver’s future through his “Imagine a Great City” campaign shaped the growth of the city. Peña pushed for significant transportation projects, which included the Denver International Airport and light rail expansion, putting Denver on the map as a “world-class city.” His administration also shepherded a new convention center, the Cherry Creek Mall, Denver Public Library, recruited Major League Baseball and supported the construction of Coors Field. His legacy is the epitome of civic engagement. 

Emerging Community Leader Medal —Mitchell Mauro – Advocate for Youth Voice and Community Health 

Recognizing a young community leader who has demonstrated excellence and made a positive impact on his or her school and community. 

As a former student at Pueblo’s Central High School, Mitchell Mauro is committed to bringing young leaders' voices to the forefront. His accomplishments include serving on the Mayor’s Youth Council, Student Council Class Treasurer, DECA for four years, National Honor Society President, Branch Out Mental Health Club President and participating on the Pueblo Health Department Youth Advisory Board. 

Mitchell's presence on the Mayor's Youth Council amplified students’ point of view in the community; he was also instrumental in helping to develop programming for youth. He has created a strong legacy in his volunteer work for Holy Family Catholic Parish, while helping to create the SoCoYoGo website which helps youth access pro-social businesses in Pueblo County. 


Mitchell is currently a freshman at the University of Colorado - Denver where he continues his bold leadership and advocacy. 

Growth and Innovation AwardAmy Schwartz and Kelly Leid, Founders of the STEAD School 

Entrepreneurs or business leaders lead with exceptional ingenuity and growth while inspiring and creating new possibilities for others. 

In 2021, Amy Schwartz and Kelly Leid founded the STEAD School in Commerce City. Located on a 10-acre campus, the small high school is focused on continuing the metro area’s agricultural legacy through an active, hands-on STEM perspective. “STEAD,” an acronym for: Science, Technology, Environment, Agriculture, and Design; offers students an alternative to traditional classroom learning and prepares them for a future in agriculture by embracing emerging technologies and project based learning. In a state where agriculture is a large contributor to the economy and supports 195,000 jobs, preparing the next generation of Coloradans for a career in agriculture has a valuable impact for our state. 

Public and Community Service AwardEd Perlmutter, U.S. representative for Colorado's 7th congressional district 

Honoring a government or community leader who serves the public through innovation, operational excellence and progressive vision

Ed Perlmutter has served in an elected capacity in the state of Colorado for 25 years, first as a state senator and more recently as the US representative for Colorado’s 7th Congressional District. Born and raised in Jefferson County, Ed has dedicated his life’s work to the community. He was elected as a Colorado state senator for the 20th district from 1995 to 2003 and subsequently to the US House of Representatives. During his 16 years in Congress, Perlmutter has worked on issues as diverse as Veterans’ care to attempting to launch a human mission to Mars by 2033. Ed’s leadership has impacted the state of Colorado immensely, including introducing 68 bills in his first seven terms. His focus on developing and disseminating renewable energy technology made him a natural fit for a congressman whose district includes the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. 

Corporate Citizenship Medal Ball Corporation 

Recognizing a Colorado-based company that has made a significant positive impact in the Community. 


Ball Corporation consistently proves itself as a company dedicated to Colorado’s well being. Through corporate giving, employee giving and volunteerism, Ball logged more than 24,000 volunteer hours and donated $6.2 million last year in global community investments. Ball Corporation has supported more than 2,900 nonprofit organizations and pledged $5 million in additional funding to global communities during COVID-19. Ball’s community work focuses on four main priorities: Education, Recycling, Disaster Relief and Preparedness. 

Most recently, Ball’s partnership with Mile High United Way has positively impacted the community by expanding Mile High’s 2-1-1 Help Center, which connects individuals to tailored resources in our community. Additionally, Ball’s commitment to disaster relief, preparedness during the pandemic, and response to the Marshall Fire has benefited the state of Colorado in ways the community could not have imagined. This year to support victims of the Marshall fire, Ball coordinated with the Governor's Office and contributed $1 million to the Community Foundation Boulder County to support those most impacted by the wildfire. 

Colorado Mountain Leader Medal —Clela Rorex - Advocate for LGBTQ+ Rights, Posthumous 

This posthumous award is given at the discretion of the governor to community leaders who have made significant contributions to Colorado through their legacy. 

Clela Rorex, who passed away on June 19, 2022, was a pioneering ally of the LGBTQ+ community. In 1975, as Boulder County Clerk, she issued marriage licenses to six same-sex couples. The move garnered widespread media attention, pushing gay marriage into the national public discourse. “I issued that [first same-sex marriage] license based on one premise — other than, of course, that it was not illegal. I was a feminist asking for equal rights, and I felt very deeply, who was I to deny equal rights to someone else asking for the same? And that was pretty much at the core of all of it and why I decided to issue those licenses.” 

Clela Rorex’s career followed in her father’s footsteps: he was a county clerk in Steamboat Springs for 30 years. Her commitment to community service lasted throughout her lifetime. She volunteered at OUT Boulder, supporting the LGBTQ+ community as an ally. Today, her legacy ripples throughout the nation’s LGBTQ+ community and Colorado. 

To learn more about the Colorado Governor’s Citizenship Medals and past honorees, visit