Senator John Heinz


  • Mark di Suvero's studio complex in Queens is profiled in the New York Times Style Magazine go >>
  • The Guardian profiles the work of Robert Langer go >>
  • Wired writes about Dean Kamen speaking at the White House Frontiers Conference in Pittsburgh go >>
  • Joseph DeRisi interviewed by Chronicle of Higher Education about co-leading new Chan Zuckerberg Biohub go >>
  • Hugh Herr and his work are profiled by Strategy and Business magazine go >>
  • Matt Mullenweg is profiled by the Houston Chronicle go >>
  • Millie Dresselhaus and her career is profiled by Lehigh University go >>
  • Sangeeta Bhatia talks to Xconomy about role models and the need to invest in diversity go >>
  • Matt Mullenweg's company Automattic is profiled by Quartz magazine go >>
  • The Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth acquires James Nachtwey's archives go >>
  • Cary Fowler discusses the Global Seed Vault on The Diane Rehm Show go >>
  • Cary Fowler talks to NPR about the Global Crop Diversity Trust's seed vault in Norway go >>
  • Rita Dove's poem "Testimonial" is evoked in a new mural in Charlottesville go >>
  • Chemical and Engineering News takes a look at the range of Robert Langer’s startups go >>
  • James Balog writes about the dangers of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in National Geographic go >>
  • Hugh Herr is profiled by ABC News' "Finding the Next" on his most recent work on exoskeletons go >>
  • Dave Eggers' new novel reviewed for The New York Times go >>
  • Janine Benyus to receive 2016 Feinstone Enviornmental Award go >>
  • Gretchen Daily's work at the Natural Capital Project is profiled in Smithsonian go >>
  • John Luther Adams creates soundscape for walk between the Metropolitan Museum of Art's two branches go >>
  • Rick Lowe joins the University of Houston's College of the Arts go >>
  • Kirk Smith interviewed about concerns regarding air pollution in Chile go >>
  • Sal Khan discusses the new in-house Khan lab school go >>
  • Science Friday revisits and updates a 1992 discussion that included Daniel Sperling on electric cars go >>
  • Freeman Hrabowski writes Op-Ed in The New York Times on how communities must support student success go >>
  • Frederica Perera argues that the benefits to children's health from a reduction in fossil fuel use are enormous go >>
  • Gretchen Daily reports on China's work on ecosystem assessment go >>
  • Richard Feely is interviewed by Refinery 29 on the impact of ocean acidification go >>
  • Sal Khan is interviewed by Business Insider about his work at Kahn Academy go >>
  • Ann Hamilton creates a 'loom performance' installation for China's Art Wuzhen Exhibition go >>
  • Roz Chast is interviewed on her work and New York City go >>
  • Robert Langer wins the 2016 European Inventor Award (In Non-European Countries) go >>
  • Roz Chast talks to The Wall Street Journal about growing up and where she lived go >>
  • Joseph DeRisi is elected to the National Academy of Sciences go >>
  • Donald Berwick writes Op-Ed on how dental care should be a part of core healthcare go >>
  • Jerry Franklin named the Ecological Society of America's 2016 Eminent Ecologist go >>
  • James Nachtwey receives the Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities go >>
  • Jonathan Foley writes Op-Ed piece for bioGraphic on the importance of natural history go >>
  • Mark di Suvero is profiled in The Paris Review go >>
  • Marian Wright Edelman discusses the importance of libraries for children and families go >>
  • Sangeeta Bhatia at TED Talks Live discusses her work on early cancer detection using nanotech go >>
  • Dr. Sanjeev Arora to receive the University of New Mexico's Presidential Award of Distinction for his work on Project ECHO go >>
  • The Washington Post reviews Rita Dove's new book of Collected Poems, 1974-2004 go >>
  • Paul Anastas receives the 2016 Green Chemistry Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry go >>
  • Robert Langer's lab develops a gel-based 'second skin' to smooth wrinkled skin go >>
  • Mason Bates is profiled by KQED in San Francisco go >>
  • Robert Langer receives 2016 Benjamin Franklin Medal Institute in Life Science from the Franklin Institute go >>
  • Elizabeth Kolbert writes about those trying to protect threatened ecosystems through manmade intervention go >>
  • Sangeeta Bhatia is interviewed by CCTV America at the Clinton Global Initiative go >>
  • Dean Kamen is profiled in the Wall Street Journal go >>
  • Mason Bates is profiled by Anne Midgette of The Washinton Post go >>
  • John Luther Adams profiled as the composer-in-residence at the 2016 Big Ears Festival go >>
  • Andrew Grove, 1st Heinz Award recipient for Technology and the Economy, dies at 79 go >>
  • Frederica Perera is co-author of study on dangers of prenatal pollution exposure go >>
  • Steve Wozniak is profiled on the Reddit and Google Cloud Platform "Formative Moment" series go >>
  • Sanjeev Arora and Project ECHO are part of Fast Company article on social media, medical care and the developing world go >>
  • Leroy Hood's Institute for Systems Biology to join with Providence Health and Science go >>
  • Robert Langer surveys the diverse output from his MIT research lab go >>
  • Marian Wright Edelman to receive the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal go >>
  • James Hansen co-authors paper about future of rising heat in tropics and Middle East go >>
  • Rick Lowe is profiled in the Stanford Arts Review go >>
  • Sangeeta Bhatia and her work are profiled in MIT Technology Review go >>
  • Sal Khan talks about his early history on the Reddit and Google Cloud Platform "Formative Moment" series go >>
  • Jake Wood, of Team Rubicon, is named to The Chronicle of Philanthropy's 2016 40 Under 40 list go >>
  • Elizabeth Kolbert writes about rising sea levels and South Florida for The New Yorker go >>
  • Dan Rather interviews Chris Field about climate change go >>
  • Salman Khan is interviewed by Here and Now on WBUR go >>
  • Donald Berwick to join the Health Policy Commission in Massachusetts go >>
  • Richard Alley is part of panel on The Dane Rehm Show discussing the melting ice sheets go >>
  • Aaron Wolf wins American Association of Geographers Gilbert White Public Service Award go >>
  • Salman Khan teams up with Tata Trusts to offer free online education to students in India in local languages go >>
  • Jonathan Foley writes a piece on Medium, "Sometimes, A Whale Dies" go >>
  • Jake Wood, of Team Rubicon, is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert go >>
  • Marian Wright Edelman co-recipient of the Patino Moore Legacy Award from the Marguerite Casey Foundation go >>
  • DOC NYC Film Festival premieres Ian Cheney's new film: Bluespace go >>
  • Sanjeev Arora announces major expansion of Project ECHO with the American Academy of Pediatrics go >>
  • Janine Benyus to join U.S. Green Building Council board of directors in 2016 go >>
  • Bruce Katz is named as Brookings Institution's inaugural Centennial Scholar, studying the innovations and impacts of global urbaniation go >>
  • Jonathan Foley writes on why museums can help change the world go >>
  • Mason Bates inaugural Kennedy Center Jukebox is reviewed by The Washington Post go >>
  • Janine Benyus is interviewed by The Dirt (American Society of Landscape Architects) go >>
  • Hugh Herr and his vision of bionics for the future profiled in the November issue of Popular Science go >>
  • John Luther Adams named artist-in-residence for 2016 Knoxville Big Ears music festival go >>
  • Leila Janah featured as one of five technology visionaries in The New York Times 'T' magazine go >>
  • Janine Benyus speaks in October at SXSW Eco 2015 bringing together the natural and manmade worlds go >>
  • Jay Keasling is co-recipient of $1 million Samson Prime Minister's Prize for Innovation in Alternative Fuels go >>
  • Curt Ellis writes OpEd for CNBC on how funding a "School lunch program could save $103 billion" go >>
  • TIME publishes a photo series by James Nachtwey on the refugee crisis go >>
  • Janine Benyus to recieve the Edward O. Wilson Biodiversity Technology Pioneer Award from Montanta State University go >>
  • Rita Dove to give the Poetry Society's Annual Lecture in October in the UK go >>

The Heinz Awards


Thomas FitzGerald

Thomas J. FitzGerald receives the Heinz Award in the Environment for being the courageous advocate of those whose health is most at risk.

Founder and Director of the Kentucky Resources Council, Thomas J. FitzGerald has been hailed as the "watchdog of the environment" in the Bluegrass state. Over the past 30 years, he has been a thoughtful and courageous advocate on behalf of those whose environmental health is most at risk, providing an influential voice in improving the environmental landscape within his home state and across the nation and making the name "Fitz" synonymous with environmental protection in Kentucky.

Mr. FitzGerald has dedicated his career to helping citizens and organizations secure full and fair implementation of policies intended to safeguard their health, safety and quality of life. He is an authority on the enforcement of the national Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) of 1977, the federal law designed to protect against the adverse environmental and societal effects of surface coal mining operations, as well as other regulatory issues affecting the environment.

After earning his law degree, Mr. FitzGerald worked as a law clerk and environmental specialist for the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund, and in 1984, reshaped the Kentucky Resources Council, providing free legal assistance on environmental matters and pursuing environmental advocacy. Having worked to secure passage of a national mining law from 1972 forward, he was active in developing regulations under the 1977 law and in working with other attorneys to defend those regulations against decades of industry lawsuits.

Mr. FitzGerald's influence extends well beyond issues related to coal. Working always on a pro bono basis and most often alone, he has helped draft ordinances to protect communities from sewage sludge disposal and factory hog farms as well as negotiate state statutes providing environmental protections related to brownfield redevelopment, solid and hazardous waste management, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Mr. FitzGerald has been a fixture in the halls of Kentucky's General Assembly since 1978 and has lobbied to defeat scores of bills that would have lowered environmental quality and polluter accountability.

Looking toward the future, Mr. FitzGerald has developed plans for an environmental leadership training program designed to cultivate the next generation of environmental watchdogs and create teams of volunteers, drawn largely from retired state environmental employees, to assist citizens and communities impacted by pollution.

Thomas FitzGerald has been a ubiquitous leader in advocating for the fair and equitable application of environmental laws and has tirelessly shouldered the causes of those without the resources or expertise to fend for themselves. He is singularly responsible for the health and well-being of countless individuals thanks in large measure to his vigilant commitment to seeing that environmental protections are enforced and the welfare of our citizens regarded as sacrosanct.

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


10/21/2008 - Acceptance Speech

Ms. Heinz, Directors of the Foundation, colleagues, and family, thank you all so much.

It's been my privilege and my great honor these past 30 years to have represented thousands of individuals and community groups who live downhill, downwind and downstream, and who have borne the burden of our failure to fully cost production of energy and goods.

As an activist, I cut my teeth in lobbying for what would become the 1977 Surface Coal Mining Act.  As a Senator from a coal producing state, John Heinz authored two important amendments to that law - the first, to allow homeowners near mining operations to request a pre-blast survey of their homes, in order to assist in documenting blasting damage; and the second, to create a state research institute in each state to improve mining and reclamation practices, and to train mining engineers and scientists. The Senator was both candid and somewhat prescient in noting, as he introduced the amendment, that "the use of coal, at once, despoils our land and pollutes our air. It is our most precious and our most dangerous mineral."

It is unfortunate that the implemented law has failed to accomplish what Congress intended.  The rich human and ecological capital of the Appalachian region is being squandered by mining methods that impoverish human and ecological communities.  The twin promises that mining would be a temporary use of land and that full protection would be accorded to coalfield citizens, have been honored in the breach.  The deferred debt of "cheap" coal-fired power has come due in the form of dramatic climate change, and demands that we honestly price energy to enable informed policy choices.  We have our work cut out for us as we transition beyond our current dependence on coal and oil.

I have been blessed with family, with clients and mentors that have shaped in me the belief that people of good faith can create in themselves and their communities, durable positive change.  John Heinz, in his time, and Teresa, in hers, have led by example, and have made enduring contributions to the restoration and achievement of justice in its many facets, and to improving the economic, social, cultural and moral health of our nation and its many communities.  I am humbled beyond words (an occurrence that my family would tell you is rare for me) to be in the august company of the previous Heinz Foundation environmental award winners and to be among this year's honorees.

After 30 years, I have worked long enough in this field to understand that Margaret Mead was right when she said "never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever does!"

May we aspire to be less acquisitive, less aggressive in our relationships with each other and our environment.  May we face our tomorrows with hope and humility and continue together in struggle and in fellowship to create an environmental legacy worthy of our children and theirs. Thank you for helping to assure that my work with KRC can continue for another 30 years.

Thomas FitzGerald
Thomas FitzGerald