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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.
Eligible individuals may be nominated by peers, colleagues, friends, or members of the public. Please consider the award criteria and determine whether the person you wish to nominate would be an
The John F. Kennedy New Frontier Awards ® were created by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and The Institute of Politics at Harvard University to honor Americans under the age of 40 who are
A distinguished bipartisan committee of political and community leaders annually selects the New Frontier Award recipients 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.
Boston, MA – March For Our Lives organizers Edna Chavez, Ryan Deitsch, David Hogg, and Tyah Robertswill receive the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award for their work to galvanize support and drive public advocacy for substantive changes to gun safety laws following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Stockton, California Mayor Michael Tubbs, the youngest mayor ever to lead a city of more than 100,000 residents, will also be honored with the New Frontier Award for his innovative efforts to increase college enrollment and graduation rates, alleviate poverty, and reduce violence in the city. The awards will be presented by Jack Schlossberg, President Kennedy’s grandson, during a ceremony on February 8 at 6:00pm at the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School.
Zainab Salbi founded Women for Women International in 1993 to help women in war-torn regions restart their lives in ways that are independent, productive, and secure. The organization connects American women with women in war-torn regions through a tiered sponsorship program that begins with direct financial and emotional support, and leads to greater awareness and understanding of women’s rights.
Giovanna Negretti, 37, is the co-founder and executive director of Oiste?, established in 1999 to provide Massachusetts Latinos with the tools and training to enter public service. The organization was founded in response to concern about the underrepresentation of Latinos in public decision making roles. While its original goal was to provide non-partisan campaigning workshops to Latinos who planned to seek public office, Oiste’s mission quickly expanded to include civic education, leadership development and advocacy.
Hector Balderas, 37, was elected State Auditor of New Mexico in 2006, making him the youngest Hispanic statewide elected official in the United States at age 33. On taking office, Balderas worked to change the longstanding perception among state agencies that their expenditures would go unexamined and that mistakes and misconduct would be allowed to slide. Despite a limited budget, a small staff, and widespread resistance from agencies uncomfortable with having their books scrutinized, Balderas fought to create a culture of accountability in New Mexico.
Lateefah Simon, 33, has advocated tirelessly on behalf of communities of color, youth and women since her teenage years. At age 15, she joined the Center for Young Women's Development, an outreach organization led by young women to provide peer-to-peer support to at-risk girls and young women in San Francisco. Simon began as a volunteer and eventually became a staff member at the Center, where she worked to help homeless, low-income and incarcerated young women transform and rebuild their lives.
Patrick J. Murphy, 36, became the first Iraq war veteran to serve in the U.S. Congress when he was elected to the House of Representatives in 2006. Since his election, Murphy has become a leader in the debate on Iraq and Afghanistan, and on military and veterans policy. In his first month in Congress, he introduced legislation calling for the responsible withdrawal of troops from Iraq in order to refocus on the fight in Afghanistan.
At the age of 19, Rebecca Onie founded Project HEALTH, a non-profit health agency that seeks to break the link between poverty and poor health. As a volunteer in a pediatric clinic at Boston Medical Center, Onie found that many patients returned to the clinic with recurring illnesses stemming from poor living conditions, inadequate diets, and other consequences of poverty.
Jay Williams made history in November, 2005 when he became the youngest and the first African-American Mayor of Youngstown, Ohio. A former banker who left the corporate world to serve as director of the city’s community development agency, Williams staked his mayoral candidacy on an unusual and politically bold plan to revitalize the city.
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.
Jane Leu, 37, Founder and Executive Director of Upwardly Global, a nonprofit organization that helps legal immigrants reclaim their professional careers in the United States and assists employers in tapping into the talents and skills of foreign-born professionals, was honored with the 2006 John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award for a non-elected 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.
When Cory A. Booker, 39, took the oath of office as mayor of New Jersey’s largest city on July 1, 2006, he assumed the leadership of a city plagued by crime and economic blight. Booker immediately launched a “100-Day Plan” to improve public safety, develop the economy, and reform city government.
Read the New Frontier Award ® announcement Background On February 14, 2018, a gunman shot and killed 17 people and wounded 14 more in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland,
Read the New Frontier Award ® announcement Background Born and raised in Stockton, Michael Tubbs wasn’t expecting to return to his troubled hometown when he left for college. But the murder of a
May Boeve, 33, is the Executive Director of 350.org, a landmark grassroots campaign to engage and mobilize communities around the world in political action aimed at holding governments, corporations, and institutions accountable for addressing climate change.
Carlos Curbelo, 37, represents Florida’s 26th Congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he serves on the influential House Ways and Means Committee. He was elected to the House in 2014.
At the age of 31, Aja Brown became the youngest mayor in the history of Compton, California. Elected in 2013, Brown previously served over 10 years as an urban planner in municipalities across Southern California. She was elected to office on her 12 point plan, “Vision For Compton,” that focused on gang violence and bringing new jobs into the city.
As the founder and executive director of the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI), Max Kenner has devoted his career to providing access to higher education and effective solutions to the criminal justice system. The leading program of its kind in the country, BPI enrolls more than 300 students across six prisons in New York State and has awarded nearly 400 Bard College degrees.
In January 2012, at age 29, Pete Buttigieg became the youngest mayor to serve a U.S. city of more than 100,000 people, and he quickly established South Bend as a model for municipal innovation and smart government.
Kirsten Lodal co-founded LIFT, an innovative anti-poverty nonprofit, during her sophomore year at Yale University. While volunteering in Head Start programs focused on at-risk children, Lodal was struck by the lack of comprehensive support services available to the parents of the children she served.