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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.
Please consider the Award Criteria to determine whether the person you wish to nominate would be an appropriate recipient of the New Frontier Award®. Award nominations are accepted on a continuing
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 cousin
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
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.
Read the New Frontier Award® announcement Background Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Cyrus Habib moved with his family to Washington state at the age of eight. He grew up in east King County and
Read the New Frontier Award® announcement Background Christina Mansfield is the co-executive director of Freedom for Immigrants, formerly Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement
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.
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.
Svante Myrick became Ithaca’s youngest mayor in 2011, at the age of 24. Since his election, he has championed innovative partnerships and development to spur economic growth and entrepreneurship in Ithaca.
During a Fulbright fellowship in Africa, Nina Dudnik worked with highly skilled scientists who lacked access to the basic tools of scientific research. As a molecular biologist in the US, she saw opportunity in the fact that basic research tools were often discarded while they were still useful. She founded Seeding Labs to provide scientists in the developing world with tools and resources to enable vital research.
Tulsi Gabbard is one of the first two female combat veterans to serve as a member of the US Congress. An advocate for environmental policy, Gabbard first ran for the Hawaii state legislature in 2002, where at 21 she became the youngest person ever to serve in that body.
Charles Best is Founder and CEO of DonorsChoose.org, an online charity that enables individuals to provide direct support to teachers and students in public schools. Best founded DonorsChoose.org at Wings Academy, a public high school in the Bronx where he taught social studies for five years. He came up with the idea during a conversation in the teachers’ lunch room, and his students volunteered to help start the organization.
Stacey Abrams is the first woman to lead either party in the Georgia General Assembly, and the first African-American to lead in the Georgia House of Representatives. First elected in 2006, Abrams has made a mark as a thoughtful, open-minded legislator and a master of detail in the formulation of public policy.
Two years ago, Veronika Scott, then an industrial design major at Detroit’s College for Creative Studies, began working on a class assignment: "Design to fill a need." She spent months at a community shelter, learning about the needs of the homeless men and women she met. In particular, she was struck by the needs of those who preferred sleeping on the street to sleeping in the shelter, whether for reasons of privacy or pride or drug addiction or mental illness. For her class project, Scott designed a winter coat that converted into a sleeping bag.
In 2000, then a 19-year-old sophomore at Yale, Jennifer Staple-Clark took a summer work position as a clinical researcher of glaucoma in the office of her childhood ophthalmologist in New Haven, Connecticut. She was shocked by what she saw there: scores of low-income and homeless patients whose glaucoma had needlessly progressed into blindness. Over and over, she would hear the regret of patients who wished they had visited an eye doctor sooner. She felt compelled to do something.
In 2003, at the age of 23, Luke Ravenstahl became the youngest person ever elected to the Pittsburgh City Council. In 2005, he became City Council president, and ten months later, after the untimely death of then-mayor Bob O’Connor, Ravenstahl was sworn in as Pittsburgh’s 58th mayor. He was 26 years old, and Pittsburgh was on the brink of bankruptcy.
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.