Teresa Heinz is an exemplar of one who is dedicated to bettering the lives of others through thoughtful approaches, dynamic collaborations, and practical solutions. Not only is she viewed as one of the nation’s leading philanthropists, she has been heralded as one of America’s top 100 visionaries by the Utne Reader. Widely known as a strategic innovator, Heinz is recognized for her achievement in environmental sustainability, public policy, the economy, the arts, and the human condition.
Heinz assumed leadership of the Heinz family foundations in 1991 following the death of her late husband, U.S. Sen. John Heinz. Building on his work, she gave high priority to educating women about the importance of pensions, savings, and retirement security. She also gave oversight to the development of the Heinz Plan to Overcome Prescription Drug Expenses (HOPE), a program designed to make prescription drugs affordable for older Americans living in Massachusetts.
Heinz has long been recognized as one of the nation’s most respected sustainability advocates. She was a 1992 representative to the Earth Summit in Brazil and is a board member of the Environmental Defense Fund, the Earth Communications Office, and the Heinz Center. In 1995, she announced a $20 million gift to create the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment, a unique attempt to bring together representatives of business, government, the scientific community, and environmental groups to collaborate on the development of scientifically sound environmental policy.
As a human rights activist, Heinz has stood up against the apartheid regime in South Africa and has been a vocal advocate for the release of Russian Jews held against their will in the Soviet Union. She organized the National Council for Children and Television, co-founded the Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, and serves on the advisory council for the Center for Children’s Health and the Environment.
Included among her many honors are the Albert Schweitzer Gold Medal for Humanitarianism, Women’s Leadership Award from Save the Children, American Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal, the World Ecology Award, and 10 honorary doctorates.
Born and raised in Mozambique, Heinz is a graduate of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, and the Interpreters School of the University of Geneva in Switzerland. She is married to U.S. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.
Teresa Heinz chairs The Heinz Endowments, one of the largest independent philanthropic organizations in the U.S., and also chairs the Heinz Family Philanthropies, which administers the prestigious Heinz Awards she created to honor the memory of her late husband. In addition, Heinz serves as vice chair of the Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment. Her husband, John Kerry, was appointed U.S. Secretary of State in 2013.