Caroline Kennedy Honors Recipients of 2005 New Frontier Awards

For Immediate Release: October 26, 2005 
Further information: Brent R. Carney (617) 514-1662,

Boston, MA – Caroline Kennedy today presented the second annual John F. Kennedy New Frontier Awards to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Kica Matos, Executive Director of JUNTA for Progressive Action, the oldest Latino community service organization in New Haven, Connecticut, at a public ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

The Kennedy Library Foundation and Harvard’s Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government created the New Frontier Awards to honor Americans under the age of 40 who are changing their communities - and the country - with their commitment to public service. The two awards are presented annually to two exceptional individuals whose contributions in elective office, non-elective community service or advocacy demonstrate the impact and the value of public service in the spirit of John F. Kennedy.

The awards were presented before a capacity crowd in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library’s Stephen Smith Center prior to a Kennedy Library Forum with CBS News Anchor Walter Cronkite.

“Lisa Madigan and Kica Matos are an inspiration to all young Americans who share my father’s belief that one person can make a difference, and everyone should try,” said Caroline Kennedy, President of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and a member of the Senior Advisory Committee for Harvard’s Institute of Politics. “President Kennedy believed there was no higher calling than public service. Today we honor two outstanding young women who have answered the call to give something back to our country.”

“President Kennedy inspired millions of young people to get involved and work to make our country a better place,” Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said. “I am honored to receive this award and will continue to work to protect consumers, advocate for women, children and senior citizens and ensure an open and honest government that moves us closer to President Kennedy's vision for America.”

"I am deeply humbled to receive this award honoring a leader who inspires generations of citizens of the world,” said Kica Matos. “Still today there is resonance in his call to service; a call which requires of each of us a commitment to stand for justice especially when the road is not yet clear."

Caroline Kennedy presented Madigan and Matos each with a ship’s navigational compass in a wooden box bearing the inscription: “We stand today on the edge of a New Frontier…. I believe the times demand new invention, innovation, imagination, decision. I am asking each of you to be pioneers on that New Frontier.” – John F. Kennedy.”

One of the New Frontier Awards honors an elected official whose work in politics has brought significant, results in response to a public challenge or challenges. This award, called the Fenn Award, is presented to a young elected official in honor of Dan Fenn, the Kennedy Library’s first director and a former 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 had a positive impact on a broad public policy issue or challenge.

Lisa Madigan

Attorney General, Illinois

Fenn Award Recipient

When she took her oath of office in 2003, Lisa Madigan became the first woman ever to hold the position of Illinois Attorney General. At the age of 39, she serves as the state’s chief consumer advocate and law enforcement officer.

Ms. Madigan has spearheaded efforts leading to the passage of more than 30 legislative initiatives since she took office, including proposals to strengthen the protection of women and children from sex offenders and to inhibit the production and spread of methamphetamine. She has argued and won cases before the United States Supreme Court on behalf of the state of Illinois, including a measure to crack down on fraudulent telemarketers. She achieved a settlement with tobacco companies for allegedly marketing their products to minors, and has won praise for her leadership in demanding transparency with respect to the state’s dealings with gaming interests.

One of Lisa Madigan’s first public service roles came as a teacher in South Africa, where she lived in a convent and taught algebra and English to girls. When she returned to the United States, she embarked upon a career in law, specializing in employment issues. She first ran for elective office in 1998, when she won a seat in the Illinois Senate.

Lisa Madigan holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and a law degree from Loyola University. She is married and has a one-year-old daughter.

Kica Matos

Executive Director, JUNTA

When 38-year-old Kica Matos became Executive Director of JUNTA for Progressive Action , she accepted the leadership of the oldest Latino community service organization in New Haven, Connecticut. But prior to her arrival, JUNTA had fallen into disrepair, even as New Haven’s Latino population surged in number and need. In a few short years, Ms. Matos has transformed JUNTA into a model service provider and a powerful community force, expanding the organization’s mission and programs and multiplying its client base with each passing year.

Kica Matos spent her early career as a community and human rights advocate, working for such institutions as Amnesty International and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. She went on to earn a law degree from Cornell University and subsequently became an assistant Federal Defender in Philadelphia, where she represented death row inmates in state and federal courts. Ms. Matos observed that minorities and the disadvantaged represented a disproportionate number of the criminal justice system’s bleakest cases. She decided to focus her work on community and social services in order to provide those at risk with alternatives to lives of crime and deprivation.

Kica Matos is a graduate of Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. She has an M.A. in political science from the New School and a law degree from Cornell University. She has lived in Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, the Fiji Islands and New Zealand. She and her husband live in New Haven, and they have a six-month-old son.

The New Frontier Awards are named after President 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.

A distinguished bipartisan committee of political and community leaders selected Lisa Madigan and Kica Matos based on their contributions to the public and their embodiment of the forward-looking public idealism to which President Kennedy hoped young Americans would aspire.

The John F. Kennedy New Frontier Awards Committee is co-chaired by Jeanne Shaheen, Director, Harvard’s Institute of Politics and former Governor of New Hampshire; and John Shattuck, CEO, John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, former U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic, and former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Committee members are: Jennifer Armini, Marketing Director, The Mentor Network, former Communications Director, MassINC; Melanie Campbell, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, former IOP Fellow; Ranny Cooper, President & COO, Weber Shandwick Public Affairs, former Chief of Staff for Senator Edward M. Kennedy; Dan Fenn, former member of President John F. Kennedy’s staff, and former Director of the John F. Kennedy Library; Trey Grayson, Secretary of State, Kentucky; Elaine C. Kamarck, Lecturer in Public Policy, Kennedy School of Government; Rachel Kaprielian, Member, House of Representatives, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1999 Recipient, Dan Fenn Award; Larry Kessler, Founding Director, AIDS Action Committee, former member, National Commission on AIDS; Vivien Li, Executive Director, Boston Harbor Foundation; Susan Page, Washington Bureau Chief, USA Today; and Eli Segal, Founding CEO, AmeriCorps.

The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and Harvard University’s Institute of Politics both have their origins in the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library, Inc., a non-profit corporation that was chartered in Massachusetts on December 5, 1963, to construct and equip the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Massachusetts.

The Kennedy Library Corporation raised more than $20 million for both the construction of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, and for the creation and endowment of an institute at Harvard for the study of politics and public affairs. More than 30 million people from around the world, including school children, contributed to the fund.

In 1966, the Kennedy Library Corporation presented Harvard University with an endowment for the creation of the Institute of Politics. A living memorial to President John F. Kennedy, Harvard University’s Institute of Politics was created to compliment the work of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum by helping to inspire students, particularly undergraduates, to enter careers in politics and public service, and to promote greater understanding and cooperation between the academic community and the political world.

The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation provides financial support, staffing, and creative resources for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, a presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum and the Kennedy Library Foundation seek to promote, through educational and community programs, a greater appreciation and understanding of American politics, history, and culture, the process of governing and the importance of public service.