Teresa Heinz is chairman of the Heinz Family Foundation and The Heinz Endowments. She is also the creator of 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. Products of her support in this area have included the publication of 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 Attache 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 now been studied or adopted in other 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 brings together representatives of business, government, the scientific community and environmental groups to collaborate on the development of mutually acceptable, yet scientifically sound, environmental policies. In addition to serving on the Heinz Center's board, she 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 annual 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 and in 2008, she received the Rachel Carson Award from the National Audubon Society. She is a co-founder of the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning and serves 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 has served on the board of the Carnegie Corporation of New York and is a trustee of the Brookings Institution. She also sits on the Visiting Committee 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, she was elected to be a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
She has been active in the past 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 works to enhance the quality of prime-time television for children.
Deeply inspired by the arts, she 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 trustee of the governing board of the Yale Art Gallery, a member of the Trustee's Council of the National Gallery of Art, and a member of the board of the Carnegie Institute of Pittsburgh.
Teresa Heinz is now married to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. She has three sons, John, Andre 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.