The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award® is the nation’s most prestigious honor for public servants. In 2005, Shirley Franklin was recognized for her courageous leadership in restoring fiscal stability and ethical government to Atlanta. Facing an $82 million deficit upon taking office in 2001, Mayor Franklin formed an unprecedented alliance between Republicans, the business community and state government, raised taxes, cut the city payroll, and imposed a strict code of ethics. Four years later, Atlanta enjoys a budget surplus.
President of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, Caroline Kennedy, said about Franklin “Not only has Franklin restored fiscal stability to her city, she has restored trust and confidence in government as well.”
The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award is presented annually to public servants who have made courageous decisions of conscience without regard for the personal or professional consequences. The award is named for President Kennedy’s 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Profiles in Courage, which recounts the stories of American statesmen, the obstacles they faced, and the special valor they demonstrated despite the risks.
The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation created the Profile in Courage Award in 1989 to honor President Kennedy’s commitment and contribution to public service. It is presented in May in celebration of President Kennedy’s May 29th birthday.
Described by one recipient as the “Nobel in Government,” the Profile in Courage Award is represented by a sterling-silver lantern symbolizing a beacon of hope. The lantern was designed by Edwin Schlossberg and crafted by Tiffany & Co.