Florida Congressman and Director of Leading Campaign Against Climate Change
Receive 2017 John F. Kennedy New Frontier Awards
U.S. Congressman Carlos Curbelo (FL-26, R) and May Boeve, executive director of 350.org, a leading campaign in the fight to address climate change, are this year’s recipients of the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Awards. The awards were presented by Jack Schlossberg, President Kennedy’s grandson, during a ceremony on November 16, 2017 at the Institute of Politics, Harvard Kennedy School.
“With his vision for a New Frontier, President Kennedy challenged young Americans to take on great challenges, solve complex problems and work for a better future” said Schlossberg, who is a member of the New Frontier Awards Committee. “May Boeve and Congressman Carlos Curbelo have each answered President Kennedy’s call to action in our time, taking on the greatest challenge facing the world today – climate change. They remind us that everyone, private citizens and elected officials alike, can make a difference.”
Created by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and the Institute of Politics, Harvard Kennedy School, the New Frontier Awards 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 in elective office, community service, or advocacy demonstrate the impact and the value of public service in the spirit of John F. Kennedy.
One of the New Frontier Awards honors an elected official whose work demonstrates the importance of elective service as a way to address a public challenge or challenges. This award, called the Fenn 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. 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.
U.S. Representative, (FL-26, R)
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.
In a highly polarized political environment, Curbelo has earned a reputation for moderation and a willingness to work across party lines on difficult policy problems. Curbelo has been consistently ranked one of the most bipartisan Members of Congress. During his first term in Congress, Curbelo introduced 23 pieces of legislation, seven of which passed the House, and all 14 pieces of legislation Curbelo has introduced this year have a Democratic co-sponsor. Curbelo is part of the House Problem Solvers Caucus, a group of lawmakers who have sought to forge bipartisan cooperation on key issues including healthcare, immigration reform, and tax reform.
In February 2016, Curbelo joined forces with fellow Florida Congressman Ted Deutch, a Democrat, to form the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus with the intent of finding common ground on policies that can address climate change. Now, the caucus has grown to 62 members – 31 Republicans and 31 Democrats – and was instrumental in blocking a proposal that would have suppressed a Defense Department report about the impact of climate change on military installations.
Born to Cuban exiles who fled Fidel Castro’s regime, Curbelo grew up in Miami, and earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Miami. Prior to his election to Congress, he was a small business owner and a member of the Miami-Dade County School Board.
Executive Director, 350.org
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. Boeve and several college friends co-founded 350.org in 2008 with climate activist Bill McKibben. In the spirit of that collaboration, 350.org has continued to foster partnerships across communities, cultures, and sectors to accomplish the scale of change required to tackle the climate crisis.
Boeve and her team at 350.org were part of the coalition that organized the historic 2014 People’s Climate March, which drew more than 300,000 people to New York City to advocate global action on climate change. The march was the largest of its kind, and brought together more than 1,100 disparate groups that previously had not prioritized climate change as a policy issue, including labor unions, religious institutions, health organizations, community activists, and universities.
Boeve has overseen 350.org’s innovative and highly successful campaign to secure commitments from major institutions to divest from fossil fuels. Between 2014 and 2016, the organization’s work resulted in nearly $5 trillion in divestment commitments from hundreds of institutions including foundations, universities, cities, and churches. At 350.org, Boeve also has led an expansive movement to halt new oil, coal, and gas development worldwide.
Boeve has been at the forefront of the climate movement since 2007 when, as a student at Middlebury College, she helped organize a student-led proposal to make the Middlebury campus carbon-neutral by 2016. In December 2016, the college announced it had reached carbon-neutrality.
About the New Frontier Awards
At the New Frontier Awards ceremony, Jack Schlossberg will present Boeve and Curbelo each with a ship’s navigational compass in a wooden box bearing the inscription: “We stand today on the edge of a New Frontier….I believe the times demand new invention, innovation, imagination, decision. I am asking each of you to be pioneers on that New Frontier.” – John F. Kennedy.
The New Frontier Awards are named after President Kennedy's bold challenge to Americans given in his acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention on July 15, 1960:
We stand today on the edge of a New Frontier…a frontier of unknown opportunities and perils -- a frontier of unfulfilled hopes and threats. The New Frontier of which I speak is not a set of promises -- it is a set of challenges. It sums up not what I intend to offer the American people, but what I intend to ask of them. It appeals to their pride, not to their pocketbook -- it holds out the promise of more sacrifice instead of more security…. Beyond that frontier are the uncharted areas of science and space, unsolved problems of peace and war, unconquered pockets of ignorance and prejudice, unanswered questions of poverty and surplus. It would be easier to shrink back from that frontier, to look to the safe mediocrity of the past, to be lulled by good intentions and high rhetoric…but I believe the times demand new invention, innovation, imagination, decision. I am asking each of you to be pioneers on that New Frontier.
Past recipients of the New Frontier Awards include Pete Buttigieg, the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Kirsten Lodal, Co-Founder and CEO of LIFT; Svante Myrick, Mayor of Ithaca, New York, Nina Dudnik, Founder and CEO, Seeding Labs; Charles Best, founder and CEO of DonorsChoose.org; Stacey Abrams, House Minority Leader for the Georgia General Assembly and State Representative for the 89th House District; Cory A. Booker, U.S. Senator and former Mayor of Newark, New Jersey; U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii; Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles; Wendy Kopp, Founder and CEO of Teach for America; and Zainab Salbi, Founder and CEO of Women for Women International.
A distinguished bipartisan committee of political and community leaders selected Boeve and Curbelo 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. The 2016 John F. Kennedy New Frontier Awards Committee was co-chaired by Steven Rothstein, Executive Director, John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, and William Delahunt, Acting Director, Institute of Politics, Harvard Kennedy School. Committee members are: Terence Burke, Vice President of Communications Strategy, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce; Carolyn Casey, Founder and Executive Director, Project 351; Ranny Cooper, Senior Consultant, Weber Shandwick Public Affairs, and former Chief of Staff for Senator Edward M. Kennedy; The Honorable William “Mo” Cowan, Vice President, General Electric Legal Policy and Litigation and former United States Senator (D-MA); Dan Fenn, former member of President John F. Kennedy’s staff and former Director of the John F. Kennedy Library; Tina Flournoy, Chief of Staff, Office of President Clinton, The Clinton Foundation; The Honorable Rachel Kaprielian, U.S. Government Relations at McDonald’s Corporation, former MA Secretary of Labor & Workforce Development, former MA state legislator, and past Fenn Award recipient; Steven Olikara, Founder and President, Millennial Action Project; Vivien Li, President and CEO, Riverlife, and former President, The Boston Harbor Association; Kristin McSwain, Executive Director, Boston Opportunity Agenda and former Director, AmeriCorps; The Honorable Doug Palmer, Former Mayor, Trenton, New Jersey; Aneesh Raman, Global Policy at Facebook, and former domestic policy speechwriter, President Barack Obama; Kristen Soltis Anderson, GOP strategist, columnist, The Daily Beast; Jack Schlossberg, grandson of President John F. Kennedy; T.W. Shannon, President of Bank2, and Former Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics both have their origins in the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library, Inc., a non-profit corporation that was chartered in Massachusetts on December 5, 1963, to construct and equip the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Massachusetts.
About the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation
The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization founded in 1984 to provide financial support, staffing, and creative resources for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, a presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. The Kennedy Presidential Library and the Kennedy Library Foundation seek to promote, through educational and community programs, a greater appreciation and understanding of American politics, history, and culture, the process of governing and the importance of public service.
About the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School
The Institute of Politics (IOP) at Harvard Kennedy School was established in 1966 as a memorial to President Kennedy. The IOP’s mission is to unite and engage students, particularly undergraduates, with academics, politicians, activists, and policymakers on a non-partisan basis to inspire them to consider careers in politics and public service. The Institute strives to promote greater understanding and cooperation between the academic world and the world of politics and public affairs. More information is available online at http://www.iop.harvard.edu.