John F. Kennedy Library Foundation

The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation

***FINALIST APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS: All applicants are required to submit a resume (one page), statement of interest (one page), and two references by the application deadline on Sunday, February 6 at 11:59pm ET. If selected as a finalist, applicants to this host organization may be required to submit the following additional materials directly to the host organization after the application deadline: 

  • Writing Sample

LOCATION: Columbia Point, Boston, MA

Our office is able to host a REMOTE OR IN-PERSON intern (depending on mutual preference).


WORKING HOURS: The intern needs to keep the same business hours as our office.

INDUSTRY: Education

ABOUT US: The primary mission of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation is to support the work of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum whose core function is to collect, preserve, and make available for research the documents, audiovisual material and memorabilia of President Kennedy, his family, and his contemporaries. In addition to its support of the Kennedy Library, the Kennedy Library Foundation directly sponsors programs and activities that help people understand the major challenges facing democracy today; that inspire current and future generations to political participation and public service; and that promote debate and discussion of issues at the heart of contemporary democracy that relate to the legacy of President John F. Kennedy.

RESPONSIBILITIES & PROJECTS: The JFK Library Foundation Intern supports the Director of Special Awards and Projects. This includes supporting the management of the John F. Kennedy Profile In Courage Award. The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award® was created in 1989 by members of President Kennedy's family to honor President John F. Kennedy and to recognize and celebrate the quality of political courage that he admired most. The award recognizes a public official (or officials) at the federal, state, or local level whose actions demonstrate the qualities of politically courageous leadership in the spirit of Profiles in Courage, President Kennedy’s 1957 Pulitzer prize-winning book, which recounts the stories of eight U.S. Senators who risked their careers by embracing unpopular positions for the greater good.

SPECIALIZED SKILLS: Exceptional research, writing, and organizational skills

WORK ENVIRONMENT: Our work environment is casual and collegial yet very professional. Unfortunately as we're still affected by the impact of COVID there aren't really any opportunities to network in-person, but the intern would have an opportunity to connect with experienced professionals in the fields of politics, history, education, and journalism.

EQUIPMENT & SOFTWARE: Access to high-speed Wi-Fi, Personal laptop, Web Camera, Microsoft Office (Word, Powerpoint, Excel)

2021 Intern Reflection:

My internship at the JFK Library Foundation has been very interesting and informative, and my supervisor is fantastic. The bulk of my work centers around doing research for the foundation, as they award public servants (elected and otherwise) each year, and it is my responsibility to build profiles on each candidate. For context, the Foundation gives out two awards to people who have exemplified what it means to be a public servant. The New Frontier Award recognizes public servants, one elected and one non-elected, under the age of 40 who have contributed something great to the public and who embody JFK's own idealism about public service. The Profiles In Courage Award recognizes an elected official who has committed an act of political courage regardless of party. The research itself consists of searching for candidates for these awards, as well as aggregating relevant news stories, background information, and organizational information. After compiling this information, I was then responsible for building briefs about the candidates and sharing them with my supervisor. The research skills that you learn here are very useful, even as someone who has done significant research for other organizations in the past. The information is pretty interesting, and you will probably learn a thing or two about the public sector and how it function. I hope anyone who wants to work in an environment like this takes the time to apply and intern here!

- Aidan Wells

2020 Intern Reflection:

My internship at the JFK Library Foundation is super interesting, and I absolutely love my supervisor. Each year, the JFK Library Foundation gives out two awards to people who have exemplified what it means to be a public servant. The New Frontier Award specifically recognizes public servants, one elected and one non-elected, under the age of 40 who have contributed something great to the public and who embody JFK's own idealism about public service. The Profiles In Courage Award recognizes an elected official who has committed an act of political courage regardless of party. My research mainly consists of looking for candidates for these awards, and I really enjoy sifting through news articles and reading about the amazing things these people have achieved. I've learned a lot about effective research skills, and about the types of jobs that exist in the public service sector, and I hope anyone who wants to work in an engaging, supportive environment applies to the JFK Library Foundation.

-Cassandra Marando '21

2019 Intern Reflection:

My internship has been awesome! My main project has been working on the New Frontier Award, where I research innovative, non-elected public servants who have dedicated themselves to public good. I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the amount of tangible responsibility I have here as an intern. This award is also facilitated by the IOP, so I’ve really enjoyed seeing how a non-profit can collaborate with other institutions. Working on this award has been extremely inspiring, as I spend my time reading about the amazing accomplishments of public servants under the age of 40. I also help out with media projects as they come up. Additionally, I’ve gotten to help with events like the annual May Dinner and our Space Summit where we hosted five former astronauts and Jeff Bezos to discuss the future of space exploration. The Space Summit has been my favorite experience because it really demonstrated the power that the JFK Library has, and the ability of non-profits to engage with the public. This is a great internship if you are interested in learning about the non-profit world, as the Foundation team has many diverse parts - media, grant writing, development, special projects, and communication. The team here is so welcoming, and everyone is really committed to making sure you have a valuable experience.

-Hannah Drew '21

2018 Intern Reflection:

Having spent time at the JFK Presidential Library Foundation, I feel like I have a much greater understanding of the non-profit world, not only through working at the foundation, but also through the research I have been doing. One of my main projects is to work on the New Frontier Award, an award given to people under 40 who are working to make a positive impact in their communities. The JFKL Foundation selects a non-elected official and the IOP selects an elected official, so it is also cool to work on the project with the IOP and the Kennedy School. I spend about half of my time researching inspiring individuals and non-profits and creating a short list of nominees for the committee to choose from. This requires substantial online research and ultimately choosing who the top 10 nominees are. The staff gives me considerable freedom in this role, and I have learned so much about the work young people are doing around the world and the way awards are given out. This year they are changing the award, so I have also helped research other awards and am excited to see where this program goes in the future.

I have also been working on social media projects regarding the award– making graphics and finding quotes from previous winners. In my other time, I have helped with some video and photography projects which have been fun. There is an immigration ceremony later this month which I am excited to attend as a photographer. I have also been going through diaries of JFK's life as President and transcribing his days into spreadsheets to be used for a new Twitter account. A history lover, I find it fascinating to be part of history in the making while literally reading what JFK did every single day of his presidency. Everyone in the office has been very welcoming and I really appreciate the female leadership and mentorship I have received. The people really do believe in the mission of the foundation and being at the Kennedy Library always keeps thing interesting. It is an honor to be working in a Presidential Library and everyday I am in awe as I walk into such a stunning edifice. If you're interested in how history intersects directly with the non-profit world, this is a great internship.

-Kathryn Kuhar '20

2017 Intern Reflection:

Now in the middle of week four of my internship here at the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, I could not be more confident that this is one of the top internship placements that the IOP offers. Given the relatively small size of the foundation staff (about 15-20 people), I began on day one with work that was actually substantive, and the same has been true for the last four weeks. The Foundation staff, including the senior leadership, has gone above and beyond to integrate me into the culture of the office, making sure that I have everything I need and that my projects are coming along smoothly. The Executive Director and the Senior VPs have all scheduled one-on-one meetings with me throughout the summer to get to know me better and to teach me about their individual departments and their own experiences working in the non-profit world. Similarly, the rest of the staff has made a concerted effort to dig below the surface and establish relationships that I know will last far beyond the end of my internship. Substantively, I have been working on two major projects: the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award and a series of social media videos called “Do You Know Jack.” I have been given tremendous responsibility in researching and coordinating the media campaign and search process for the non-elected side of the New Frontier Award, and it’s actually pretty incredible that the Foundation staff and Selection Committee have enough trust in the IOP intern to make this process happen. I have already been invited to join the committee meeting this fall at Harvard for the final selection process. This part of my job has been aided in no small part by my comfort with Harvard’s wealth of online databases and with conducting a Boolean search—skills which are useful to have as a Harvard student anyway. The “Do You Know Jack” video series has been a great practical application of the skills I have developed as a student in the History department. The project has required me to work extensively with online finding aids and with the archives staff to find interesting and unique topics for videos, and comfort working with original documents and other primary sources is a must.

 Overall, this internship has been absolutely fantastic. Unlike pretty much any other job I’ve had, this job is extremely low on administrative work and packed with substantive, meaningful projects. There have been few times where I’ve found myself counting down the hours until I could leave for the day. If you’re a history student or just a history lover, this is THE place to be.

-Ben Schaeffer '19

[1] The Public Papers of John F. Kennedy.  Remarks in Los Banos, California, at the Ground-Breaking Ceremonies for the San Luis Dam. August 18, 1962

Boston, MA / Cambridge, MA