John Heinz embraced the joyous American belief that individuals have the power and the responsibility to change the world for the better. As a United States senator, he was passionate about protecting the environment. He was a champion of the elderly. And he brought the experiences of one of the most successful entrepreneurial families in America to bear as a policy maker in international commerce.
Heinz's long list of Senate activities included: service on the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; Chairmanship of the Subcommittee on International Finance and Monetary Policies; Chairmanship of the Special Committee on Aging; Chairmanship of the Republican Conference Task Force on Job Training and Education; National Commission on Social Security Reform, and the National Commission on Health Care Reform.
Heinz's reputation as a protector of the environment was established through his involvement in "Project 88" which recommended market-based solutions to environmental problems, the Pennsylvania Wilderness Act, and his chairmanship of GLOBE, U.S.A. (Global Legislators for a Balanced Environment).
John Heinz was an avid lover of beauty in both nature and the arts. He and his wife established a fine collection of late 18th and 19th Century American paintings as well as Northern European still life paintings of the 17th Century. The Heinz collection of Dutch, Flemish and other still lifes has been exhibited at the National Gallery of Art and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
Heinz was an enthusiastic sportsman who enjoyed trout fishing, skiing, and tennis. While in the House of Representatives, he won the "King of the Hill" competition as the best athlete in Congress.
John Heinz labored to make a difference in this world-to be an empathetic advocate and produce results. The Heinz Family Philanthropies and the Heinz Awards exist in large part to honor his memory and continue his efforts. They seek to honor those individuals, like John Heinz, who have a strong sense of the personal power they possess to contribute to the world around them and an equally strong sense of responsibility to use that power.
Ultimately, in honoring John Heinz, these awards have as their goal not to enshrine a memory, but to celebrate excellence and the human spirit and to inspire us with examples of what that spirit can achieve.