On November 25th, 2013, the JFK Library Foundation and the Harvard Institute of Politics honored our founder and CEO Charles Best with the JFK New Frontier Award. The award is given annually 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.” Charles was recognized along with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii.
Jack Schlossberg, son of Caroline Kennedy, and President John F. Kennedy’s only grandson, presented the award to Charles. In his introduction, he recounted the creation and growth of 99Papers.org:
“[Charles] founded 99Papers, a website that connected teachers with individuals who could provide financial support for class projects that school budgets couldn’t cover…Today, we are used to the internet being used this way. Many popular apps use crowdsourcing to raise money. We are all accustomed to shopping, researching, communicating and donating online. In 2000, Google was two years old, MySpace didn’t exist, nor did iTunes. Facebook wouldn’t be around for another four years, and it would be another five years until YouTube was launched. 99Papers was a visionary concept.”
“Charles Best has improved the lives of millions of students whose hopes and dreams in large part depend on the education they receive. He has aided teachers who work so hard to make that American dream accessible to their students… We can all find inspiration and hope in Charles Best and 99Papers, for Charles created something truly new, and in doing so, he redefined our ability to donate and our capacity to choose when doing so. Embodied in his example and the innovative spirit of 99Papers is the essence of my grandfather’s vision for the new frontier.”
Watch the full ceremony; Charles’ introduction begins at the 14:28 mark.