New Frontier Award® Criteria and Eligibility

The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and the Institute of Politics annually present the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Awards® to two exceptional young Americans whose contributions in elective office, community service or advocacy serve as a model for modern public service in the spirit of John F. Kennedy. The two Awards are presented in a single ceremony each year.

Award Criteria

  • Both recipients of the New Frontier Award® should demonstrate the ideals and political values of John F. Kennedy and the qualities he most admired in public servants: civic-mindedness, vision, pragmatism and tenacity in identifying and addressing public challenges.
  • Emphasis will be placed on accomplishments that showcase the relevance of political engagement as a means to constructive change.
  • Award candidates must be living Americans under the age of age 40.
  • The recipient of the New Frontier Award® for elective public service, known as the Fenn Award in honor of the Kennedy Presidential Library's first director, should be a role model who demonstrates the impact of elective service as a way to address public challenges. Individuals who hold elective office at any level - local, state or Federal - are eligible for this award.
  • The recipient of the New Frontier Award® for non-elective service should be a role model who in the course of his or her work in a non-elective capacity has elevated the debate about a public issue or issues, or has endeavored to change the policy landscape with respect to a public issue or issues. Individuals who are working full-time in community service, advocacy, or grassroots activism are eligible for this award.