Teresa Heinz is chairman of the Heinz Family Foundation and The Heinz Endowments. She founded the Heinz Awards, an annual program recognizing outstanding vision and achievement in the arts; public policy; the environment; the human condition; and technology, the economy and employment.
After the death of her husband, U.S. Senator John Heinz, in 1991, Mrs. Heinz assumed direction of the family's extensive philanthropic operations, undertaking a major reorganization designed to sharpen the foundations' strategic focus. Today, the foundations she oversees are widely known for developing innovative strategies to protect the environment, improve education, enhance the lives of young children, broaden economic opportunity and promote the arts. In 2007, Mrs. Heinz accepted the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy on behalf of the Heinz family and philanthropies.
Following on the work of her late husband, Mrs. Heinz has championed the education of women regarding the importance of pensions, savings and retirement security. This work resulted in a nationally acclaimed book, Pensions in Crisis, and a magazine supplement, "What Every Woman Needs to Know About Money and Retirement," that was published in Good Housekeeping and US Airway's Attaché magazine. In a related area, she directed the development of the Heinz Plan to Overcome Prescription Drug Expenses, a program to make prescription drugs affordable for older Americans, which has been studied or adopted in eight states including Pennsylvania, Maine and Mississippi.
Heralded by the Utne Reader in 1995 as one of 100 American visionaries, Mrs. Heinz has long been recognized as one of the nation's premier environmental leaders. In 1995, she announced one of the largest grants ever made to the environment – a $20 million gift to create the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment in Washington, D.C. The Heinz Center brought together representatives of business, government, the scientific community and environmental groups to collaborate on the development of mutually acceptable, yet scientifically sound, environmental policies. Mrs. Heinz was one of 10 representatives from non-governmental organizations attached to the U.S. delegation to the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development in Brazil in 1992. Since 1995, she has sponsored numerous conferences on Women's Health and the Environment, bringing women together with health, environmental and policy experts to learn how the environment impacts their daily lives.
Mrs. Heinz was honored in 2003 with a special "Shades of Green" award presented by the Pittsburgh Green Building Alliance for her vision and contributions to the greening of the region; in 2008, she received the Rachel Carson Award from the National Audubon Society; and in 2012, she was honored with the Rachel Carson Advocacy Award from the Silent Spring Institute. She is a co-founder of the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning and served on the Advisory Council for the Center for Children's Health and the Environment at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.
Mrs. Heinz is an honorary trustee of the Brookings Institution, a life trustee of Carnegie Mellon University and has served on the board of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. She is a member of the Environment Council for Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and serves on the board of the American Institute for Public Service, which confers the Jefferson Awards. In addition, in 2001, Mrs. Heinz was elected to be a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Mrs. Heinz has been active as a board member and trustee of schools including Georgetown University, Phillips Exeter Academy and St. Paul's School. She was a board member of the Pittsburgh-based Family Communications, which produced Mister Roger's Neighborhood, and she co-founded the National Council for Families and Television, an organization that worked to enhance the quality of prime-time television for children.
Deeply inspired by the arts, Mrs. Heinz and her late husband began a collection of late 16th and 17th century Dutch, Flemish and German art, as well as a collection of 19th and 20th century American art. Mrs. Heinz is a member of the Trustees’ Council of the National Gallery of Art, a member of the board of the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh and was a trustee of the governing board of the Yale Art Gallery.
Teresa Heinz is now married to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. She has three sons, John, André and Christopher Heinz. Born and raised in Mozambique, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in romance languages and literature from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. In 1963, she graduated from the Interpreters School of the University of Geneva. Fluent in five languages, she later served as a consultant to the United Nations Trusteeship in New York City. She has been awarded honorary doctorate degrees from Beloit College in Beloit, Wisc.; the University of Massachusetts in Boston; Bank Street College of Education in New York City; Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, Mass.; and Clark University in Worcester, Mass., as well as from Carnegie Mellon University and Carlow College in Pittsburgh; the Medical College of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, in Philadelphia, Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pa. as well as Albertson College in Idaho and Kenyon College in Ohio.