Eric Garcetti (2006)

Fenn Award Recipient

Read the New Frontier Award® announcement


During his five years in public office as a member of the Los Angeles City Council, including serving as President of the City Council in his second term, Eric Garcetti has taken on some of the city’s most pressing public problems including affordable housing, environmental issues, and economic development. Garcetti has shown particular leadership on housing issues, most recently leading an ongoing bid to pass a $1 billion housing bond, which, if approved, would enable the construction of thousands of affordable housing units in the city of Los Angeles. In 2004, he directed a successful campaign to secure a $500 million upgrade of the city’s storm-water system, which was spilling garbage and bacterial toxins into the Pacific Ocean and keeping city beaches closed to swimmers. Garcetti also played a leadership role in the celebrated economic and cultural revival of his Hollywood district. Garcetti was elected City Council President in November 2005. He holds a B.A. and an M.A. from Columbia University. Garcetti’s New Frontier 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.

Remarks by Caroline Kennedy

Remarks delivered by Caroline Kennedy at the 2006 John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award Ceremony, November 20, 2006.

I am happy to be here today to honor and celebrate two extraordinary young Americans whose commitment to public service is an inspiration to us all.

The New Frontier Awards would have had special meaning for President Kennedy. He would have been delighted that the Institute of Politics and the Kennedy Library Foundation, two institutions that celebrate the ideals he cherished, have collaborated to establish these honors for young public servants.

President Kennedy believed young Americans who devoted themselves to public service were realizing the greatest aspirations of the nation. He often encouraged students to waste no time putting their talents and energies to work for their communities. He especially believed that public service was a noble profession, and he hoped young people would achieve their own dreams by meeting and solving public challenges.

President Kennedy would have been especially delighted to know the two people we honor today. Eric Garcetti and Jane Leu are remarkable leaders who make clear that young Americans can make important and lasting contributions to our public life.

Jane Leu has worked tirelessly to help immigrants realize the promise of the American dream. Her achievements remind us that our differences need not keep us from working together to build a future of opportunity for everyone.

Eric Garcetti has shown that politics at its best brings people together in search of solutions to challenging public issues.

Together, Jane and Eric embody the spirit of public service that President Kennedy championed. They are bridge builders who are bringing idealism, passion and hard work to public challenges that affect all of us. They are role models not just for young Americans, but for all Americans.

Presentation of the New Frontier Award to Eric Garcetti

I am pleased today to present Eric Garcetti with the New Frontier Award for elective public service. This award is also called the Fenn Award, in honor of Dan Fenn, who worked in my father’s administration and was the first director of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Dan Fenn is with us today, and I’d like to ask him to stand for a moment and be recognized.

Eric Garcetti has demonstrated the impact of elective public service through his innovative work on the Los Angeles City Council. He has won praise from fans and skeptics by reaching out and asking diverse and sometimes adversarial stakeholders to work together on the problems confronting the city. His service on the city council has made a difference to thousands of urban Americans. I am delighted to ask Eric Garcetti to come up and accept the 2006 New Frontier Award.

Presentation of the New Frontier Award to Jane Leu

Jane Leu has brought creativity and compassion to the challenges facing immigrants in the United States. Her cutting-edge work is a model of public entrepreneurship which has already contributed greatly to this country – a country whichitself was founded by immigrants. Her work is also improving the lives of countless men and women who are eager to make their own contributions to our public life. She is an inspiring leader, and I am pleased to present Jane Leu with the 2006 John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award.

Remarks by Senator Edward M. Kennedy

Remarks delivered by Senator Edward Kennedy at the presentation of the 2006 John F. Kennedy New Frontier Awards, November 20, 2006.

It’s an honor to join all of you, and our two impressive honorees - Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti and Jane Leu, founder and executive director of Upwardly Global. They each embody the spirit of service to others that my brother worked so hard to inspire in peoples throughout the country and throughout the world.

President Kennedy believed very strongly, as he often said, that each of us can make a difference and all of us should try. It was a commitment that he lived by each day, and believed deeply in, and that he summed up in his extraordinary vision of a New Frontier for America – a new era a possibility and accomplishment for our country for our role in the world.

That vision led to the dismantling of institutionalized racism with the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. It lifted tens of millions of seniors out of poverty with Medicare. It opened the door to higher education for countless young men and women with the creation of the first federal student loan and grant programs. It put a man on the moon, and launched a new era of scientific discovery.

The leaders of his generation were motivated by a youthful energy, a dedication to their fellow human beings, and here at home and all through the nation, a sense that all things are possible for those who dare to dream, who are bold enough to believe that together we can leave this world better than we found it.

We find ourselves in an age of great challenge adversity as well, with growing violence around the world, environmental dangers that threaten the health of our planet, and growing competition from other nations, that is calling into question America’s ability to lead in this new century.

Fortunately, we’re blessed with young men and women like Eric Garcetti and Jane Leu, who are dedicated to using their talents to improve their communities. As long as we have leaders like these, we can be sure that America’s greatest days still lie ahead of her. I know my brother would be proud of you for creating your own new frontiers.