The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and the Institute of Politics at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government have created the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Awards to honor young Americans who are changing their communities – and the country – with their commitment to public service.
The New Frontier Awards are presented annually to exceptional young Americans under the age of 40 whose contributions in elective office, community service or advocacy demonstrate the impact and value of public service in the spirit of John F. Kennedy.
One award honors an elected official whose work demonstrates the impact of elective public service as a way to address public challenges. This award is known as the Fenn Award, which has been presented annually to young elected officials in honor of Dan Fenn, the Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum's first director and a member of President Kennedy's staff.
The other New Frontier Award honors an individual whose contributions in the realm of community service, advocacy or grassroots activism have elevated the debate or changed the landscape with respect to a public issue or issues. Our list of recipients reveals the depth and breadth of their accomplishments.
The New Frontier Award is named after President John F. Kennedy's bold challenge to Americans given in his acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention on July 15, 1960:
"We stand today on the edge of a New Frontier…a frontier of unknown opportunities and perils -- a frontier of unfulfilled hopes and threats. The New Frontier of which I speak is not a set of promises -- it is a set of challenges. It sums up not what I intend to offer the American people, but what I intend to ask of them. It appeals to their pride, not to their pocketbook -- it holds out the promise of more sacrifice instead of more security…Beyond that frontier are the uncharted areas of science and space, unsolved problems of peace and war, unconquered pockets of ignorance and prejudice, unanswered questions of poverty and surplus. It would be easier to shrink back from that frontier, to look to the safe mediocrity of the past, to be lulled by good intentions and high rhetoric…but I believe the times demand new invention, innovation, imagination, decision. I am asking each of you to be pioneers on that New Frontier."