Tony Bennett and Robert De Niro were honoured for their commitment to social change at an awards gala on Tuesday night (16Dec14).

The veteran musician, the Taxi Driver star and former U.S. First Lady Hillary Clinton were named honourees by members of The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights.

The non-profit organisation recognises those who demonstrate a commitment to social change and "reflect Robert Kennedy's passion for equality, justice, basic human rights, and his belief that we all must strive to 'make gentle the life of this world.'"

The trio were handed the prizes at the organisation's star-studded Ripple of Hope Award ceremony in New York.

U.S. politician Kennedy, brother of President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated in 1968.