About the Award

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 changing their communities and the country with their commitment to public service. The awards are presented annually to two exceptional individuals whose contributions as full-time public servants in elective office, community service, or advocacy demonstrate the impact and the value of public service in the spirit of John F. Kennedy.

One award honors an elected official whose work in politics has brought significant, tangible results in response to a public challenge. This award is named for Dan Fenn, the Library's first director.

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.

The recipients of the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Awards are role models for a new generation of public servants. They demonstrate the qualities President Kennedy embodied and admired: civic mindedness, pragmatism, vision and tenacity in identifying and addressing public challenges.

Nominations for the 2017 New Frontier Award® are open until August, 15. Submit your nomination today.

Inspiration Behind the New Frontier Award®

The New Frontier Award® is inspired by President Kennedy's bold challenge to Americans given in his acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention on July 15, 1960:

Quotation from John F. Kennedy's speech at the Democratic National Convention 1960.

Past Recipients

Past recipients of the New Frontier Award® include Tulsi Gabbard, U.S. Representative (D-Hawaii); Charles Best, founder of DonorsChoose.orgCory A. Booker, U.S. Senator and former Mayor of Newark, New Jersey; Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles; Wendy Kopp, Founder and CEO of Teach for America; Lisa Madigan, Illinois Attorney General; Rebecca Onie, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Health Leads; and Zainab Salbi, Founder and CEO of Women for Women International. Learn more >>

Criteria and Eligibility

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. Learn more >>

How to Submit a Nomination

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 appropriate recipient of the New Frontier Award®. Learn more and access the online nomination form>>

New Frontier Award® Committee

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. Learn more >>

Learn About Past Recipients

Jack Schlossberg with 2013 New Frontier Award Honorees, Charles Best and Tulsi Gabbard

Pictured with Jack Schlossberg are 2013 New Frontier Award® honorees Charles Best, Founder and CEO of DonorsChoose.org, and Congresswomen Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), one of the first two female combat veterans to serve in the US Congress. Learn more about all of our prior winners.

New Frontier Award® Coverage at IOP

Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics

See more New Frontier Award® information on the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics website.