Senator John Heinz

RELATED NEWS

  • Janine Benyus’ Biomimicry 3.8 and Arizona State University launching a joint collaboration, the Biomimicry Center go >>
  • James Nachtwey honored with lifetime achievement award by American Society of Magazine Editors go >>
  • John Luther Adams' "Become Ocean" wins the best contemporary classical composition Grammy Award go >>
  • Mason Bates is scoring new film by Gus van Sant, The Sea of Trees go >>
  • Robert Langer recieves the £1 million Queen Elizabeth Award go >>
  • John Harbison's new work for violinist Jennifer Koh, "For Violin Alone," is reviewed by the New York Times go >>
  • Dan Sperling appointed the 2015 chair of the Transportation Research Board’s Executive Committee go >>
  • Khan Academy to launch LearnStorm, a math challenge for Bay Area Schools go >>
  • Marian Wright Edelman writes an Op Ed piece on child poverty for BillMoyers.com go >>
  • The Kennedy Center names Mason Bates as composer-in-residence go >>
  • Richard Jackson named as recipient of Notre Dame's 2015 Henry Hope Reed Award go >>
  • Rick Lowe is named 2015 Breeden Eminent Scholar Chair at Auburn University go >>
  • Mason Bates profiled on radio station WABE in Atlanta go >>
  • John Luther Adams is honored with Columbia Unversity's William Shuman Award for lifetime achievement go >>
  • Dean Kamen is profiled on CBS News Sunday Morning go >>
  • James Nachtwey photographs moments from the new movie "Selma" go >>
  • Jane Lubcheno named first U.S. Science Envoy for the Ocean go >>
  • Cary Fowler speaks to the New Scientist about the critical need for seed banks go >>
  • Mark di Suvero's Dreamcatcher sculpture coming to UCSF Mission Bay go >>
  • James Comer receives the Sidney Berman Award from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry go >>
  • John Holdren, in his role as the President's science advisor, solicits questions via social media go >>
  • Mildred Dresselhaus the first woman to receive IEEE's highest award, the Medal of Honor go >>
  • Bruce Katz offers a commentary piece on "What the Rise of Retirees and Minorities Means for U.S. Business," in Fortune go >>
  • William Thomas and the Green House Project are profiled in a New York Times article go >>
  • Paul Farmer appears as a guest on The Colbert Report go >>
  • John Luther Adams profiled on Grist.org go >>
  • Arne Duncan writes profile of Salman Khan for Vanity Fair go >>
  • David Heymann is interviewed on CNN about the Ebola vaccine go >>
  • John Holdren discusses climate change with David Letterman go >>
  • Ralph Cavanagh writes Op-Ed on energy for The New York Times go >>
  • Dave Eggers has a new short story in The New Yorker go >>
  • Geoffrey Canada shares Bowdoin College’s highest honor, The Bowdoin Prize go >>
  • Jane Lubchenco is interviewed by Yale Environment 360 go >>
  • James Nachtwey photographs veterans at Walter Reed, for Time go >>
  • John Luther Adams named 2015 Composer of the Year by Musical America Worldwide go >>
  • Abraham Verghese writes on Treating Ebola Without Fear in The New York Times Magazine go >>
  • The Guardian interviews David Heymann on a podcast about the Ebola epidemic go >>
  • Bruce Katz writes on "How universities can renew America's cities," in Fortune go >>
  • Leila Janah spoke at Forbes' inaugural Under 30 Summit on her crowdfunding effort, Samahope go >>
  • Hugh Herr receives the 2014 American Ingenuity Award in Tech from The Smithsonian Institution go >>
  • Jane Lubchenco to receive 2014 Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication go >>
  • Bernice Johnson Reagon headlines Baylor University panel on preserving black sacred music go >>
  • The Harlem Children's Zone headquarters will be renamed the Geoffrey Canada Community Center go >>
  • Rita Dove returns to her hometown of Akron for a literacy event go >>
  • Rita Dove wins the Carole Weinstein Prize in Poetry at the 17th Annual Library of Virginia Literary Awards go >>
  • Dave Eggers interviewed by Detroit-based Model D Media go >>
  • Paul Farmer writes about his first-hand experiences surveying the Ebola outbreaks in Africa go >>
  • Harvard Gazette writes about Paul Farmer's Partners In Health confronting ebola in Liberia and Sierra Leone go >>
  • Brenda Eheart's Generations of Hope part of article by Newsweek on multigenerational communities go >>
  • James Balog, 3rd recipient of Dickinson College’s Rose-Walters prize, is profiled by The Sentinel go >>
  • Freeman Hrabowski speaks about his personal history and issues of diversity at Colorado State University go >>
  • TIME celebrates 30 years of James Nachtwey's photography for the magazine go >>
  • Rick Lowe is awarded a 2014 MacArthur fellowship go >>
  • Paul Farmer working on care facility in Liberia to aid ebola patients go >>
  • Abraham Verghese gives TEDMED talk on how he draws from the language of metaphors as a doctor and author go >>
  • Marian Wright Edelman urges states to do more for rural poor children in Huffington Post piece go >>
  • Mason Bates' orchestral piece, Alternative Energy, is reviewed in the San Francisco Chronicle go >>
  • Jay Keasling receives the 2014 Economist Innovation Award for Bioscience go >>
  • Sidney Drell co-authors new book on nuclear security go >>
  • Sam Nunn co-authors new book on nuclear security go >>
  • Robert Berkebile selected as 2014 recipient of The Hanley Award for Vision and Leadership in Sustainability go >>
  • President of The World Bank, Jim Kim, posts thoughts on a conversation with Salman Khan go >>
  • Sanjeev Arora brings Project ECHO to India go >>
  • Amory Lovins argues that we can reduce fossil fuel use 80 percent with existing technology go >>
  • Scientists You Must Know, from the Chemical Heritage Foundation, presents a short documentary on Robert Langer's life and work go >>
  • Salman Khan writes for Huffington Post on the importance of struggle and mistakes in learning go >>
  • Business Insider profiles Hugh Herr and his evolution from rock climber to bionics inventor go >>
  • Katie Couric talks to Dean Kamen about his 'Luke' prosthetic arm, for Yahoo! News go >>
  • Nancy Knowlton shares her views on the health and future of coral reefs on the Diane Rehm Show go >>
  • Kirk Smith pens editorial for Science on bringing electricity to those who do not have it go >>
  • The premiere of John Luther Adams' "Sila - The Breath of the World" is reviewed in The New York Times go >>
  • Bruce Katz co-authors an article on "A year later, what cities can learn from Detroit's bankruptcy," in Fortune go >>
  • Dean Kamen talks to ZD Net about FIRST, turning innovation into a competition, and why failure is a critical part of the formula for success go >>
  • Leila Janah is interviewed about Samasource on ReadWrite.com go >>
  • Forbes takes a look at Dean Kamen’s Stirling Engine go >>
  • Christopher Field to receive the Roger Revelle Medal from the American Geophysical Union go >>
  • Robert Langer receives 2014 Kyoto Prize for Advanced Technology from the Inamori Foundation go >>
  • Curt Ellis is interviewed by NationSwell about FoodCorps go >>
  • Sal Khan is interviewed by Katie Couric go >>
  • Bruce Katz co-authors a commentary piece on "Where the American Startup Dream is Moving: Downtown," in Fortune go >>
  • Sanjeev Arora and Project ECHO are profiled by David Bornstein at The New York Times go >>
  • A recent in-depth interview with Peter Matthiessen is published in The Believer go >>
  • Jay Keasling receives one of four 2014 Eni Awards, the 200,000 euro Renewable Energy Prize go >>
  • Joseph DeRisi collaborates on DNA technology that quickly diagnoses a lethal bacteria that put a young boy in a coma go >>
  • ECHO Care, modeled on Sanjeev Arora's Project ECHO, is profiled by the Albuquerque Journal go >>
  • The New York Times writes about John Luther Adams' love of baseball go >>
  • Elizabeth Kolbert examines work and leisure in her review of Brigid Schulte's new book, Overwhelmed go >>
  • Tom FitzGerald accepts presidential nomination to Ohio River commission, ORSANCO go >>
  • Richard Alley describes the impact of melting Antarctic glaciers on sea level rise for Mother Jones' Inquiring Minds podcast go >>
  • Abraham Verghese discusses his advocacy of medical humanism during a visit at the State University of New York at Buffalo go >>

The Heinz Awards

1998

Ernesto J. Cortes, Jr.

Ernesto J. Cortes, Jr. receives the Heinz Award in Public Policy for his dedication to making government more responsive by increasing citizen participation in the political process at the community level.

Mr. Cortes, who serves as Southwest Regional Director of the Chicago-based Industrial Areas Foundation, has worked to organize communities in the poor neighborhoods of Texas and throughout the Southwest. He emphasizes the development of local leadership, training cadres of organizers who become a permanent resource capable of mobilizing their communities at the grassroots.

This approach has proved highly successful in increasing the political power of the traditionally disenfranchised populations with whom Mr. Cortes works. In his commitment to helping these populations master "the system" rather than be discouraged by it, Mr. Cortes exemplifies the importance of individuals who speak sensibly about issues, work publicly for their goals, debate subjects on their merits, and give voice to others who lack ready access to power.

Ernesto Cortes left post-graduate work in economics at the University of Texas at Austin at the same time he recognized the power of community organizing in improving the lives of others. His early commitment led him first to Cesar Chavez and the farm worker's movement, and then to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. In 1971, he moved to Chicago to study at the Saul Alinsky Training Institute. Founded by the legendary labor organizer, the Institute provides leadership training to poor communities.

Returning to his native Texas in 1974 under the auspices of Alinsky's Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), Mr. Cortes founded the first IAF affiliate there in his hometown of San Antonio. Communities Organized for Public Service (COPS), a church-based grassroots organization, has gained national recognition for transforming fragmented, low-income neighborhoods into an organized and politically savvy group capable of taking on the city's power structure. As neighborhoods became organized, junkyards were removed, drainage systems installed, and traffic signals erected. Increasingly aware of their own power, residents began to reach out across neighborhood boundaries to develop a master plan for public service equity, ultimately resulting in new libraries, innovative economic development initiatives, and new parks.

In the more than two decades since Mr. Cortes began his involvement with the IAF, the foundation has grown to include more than 50 such organizations nationwide. The Southwest Region of the network includes 23 organizations, many of which he originally founded, and all of which he now supervises as director of the region. These organizations represent some 500,000 families across the Southwest, for whom Mr. Cortes plays the role of teacher and facilitator and not, he stipulates, of problem solver.

Possessed of a deep respect for the dignity of the people he seeks to help, he adheres to what he calls the "iron rule" of community activism: Never do for others what they can do for themselves. Rather than seek to impose an outsider's view of what a community needs, he helps citizens organize and develop the tools they need to exercise power on their own behalf.

Ernesto Cortes has successfully translated his passion for justice into helping the politically disenfranchised of all races and faiths discover their political strength. That passion burns as brightly today as it did over 25 years ago.

Note: This profile is excerpted from the commemorative brochure published at the time of the awards' presentation.


UPDATES SINCE RECEIVING THE HEINZ AWARD

March 2006 - Cortes delivers the keynote address during the CityFutures luncheon at the Congressional Cities Conference in Washington D.C. In his speech, Cortes addresses how "local officials and others can create a culture and society that fosters inclusivity." - National Cities Weekly

April 2005 - Cortes is selected by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to be a part of a newly-created 15-person committee to be known as the Governor's Advisory Committee on Education Excellence. The committee will be responsible for studying "ways to overhaul the state's public school system" and will make recommendations concerning in the areas of funding, governance, and teacher and administration credentials. - The Los Angeles Times

April 2004 - As keynote speaker at the 5th annual Center for Justice, Tolerance, and Community lecture, hosted by the University of California Santa Cruz, Cortes discusses "individual participation in American politics and the importance of agitation, confrontation, and compromise in the democratic process." - University of California Santa Cruz

January 2002
- Cortes is the keynote speaker at the first Alliance Schools Education Conference held in San Antonio, Texas. As the founder of the Communities for Public Service/Metro Alliance, Cortes and his organization are responsible for locally representing the new Alliance Schools program, a campaign that unites parents and public school staff members in a push for maximum parent involvement in youth education. - San Antonio Express-News

August 2000 - Cortes leaves Texas to go back to Los Angeles where he and other community leaders are "working to link unions, churches, synagogues, and school parents' groups in LA and nearby suburbs around issues that cut across race and neighborhood." He will lead the somewhat fractured Los Angeles branch of the Industrial Areas Foundation in an effort to improve the overall quality of life in L.A. - The Nation

November 1999 - Cortes' latest project, the Alliance Schools Initiative, receives an Annie E. Casey award of $500,000 for its contributions to bettering the lives and economic status of low-income families. - Austin American-Statesman

Ernesto J. Cortes, Jr.