The Heinz Family Foundation Honors Recipients of the 19th Heinz Awards

April 3 Event Held at the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Apr 04, 2014, 13:30 ET from Heinz Family Foundation

PITTSBURGH, April 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Heinz Awards, established by Teresa Heinz and the Heinz Family Foundation to honor the memory of the late U.S. Senator John Heinz, celebrated the winners of the 19th annual Heinz Awards at a moving ceremony on April 3. 

Held at the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, Pa., hosted by Andre Heinz, the event's attendees included members of the board of directors of the Heinz Family Foundation, past Heinz Award laureates, community leaders, and family and friends of this year's five recipients. 

"This year's Heinz Awards recipients show that the antidote for the uncertainties and fears of our times lies where it always has – in the imagination, determination, brilliance and creativity of the people among us who see possibility where others see only barriers," said Mrs. Heinz, chairman of the Heinz Family Foundation. "The recipients are an extraordinary group of individuals who are changing our world for the better, but that is not what makes them so inspiring for the rest of us. The secret to their special alchemy is available to any of us if we, too, are willing to challenge the status quo, to be passionate in pursuit of bettering the world we live in, and to apply whatever strengths we have to the hard work of transformation. It is inspiring to name these exceptional individuals as the recipients of the 19th annual Heinz Awards because of the hope that their work and their example brings."

The 19th Heinz Awards recipients by category are:

  • Arts and Humanities: Abraham Verghese, M.D., of Stanford, Calif. - Dr. Verghese was recognized for his work as a critically acclaimed, best-selling author. His poignant stories – both fiction and non-fiction – have documented his belief and practice that healing must go beyond cures, diagnostic tests and technological advancements and must also address the sense of profound vulnerability that patients feel when they are facing a major health crisis. His novel, Cutting for Stone, combines his passion for medicine and his gift as a writer and was on The New York Times bestseller list for more than two years. Dr. Verghese is currently serving as the Linda R. Meier and Joan F. Lane Provostial Professor and Vice Chair for the Theory and Practice of Medicine in the Department of Medicine at Stanford University.
  • Environment: Jonathan Foley, Ph.D., of St. Paul, Minn. - Dr. Foley is the director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, where he is also a professor and McKnight Presidential Chair of Global Environment and Sustainability. The Heinz Awards recognized Dr. Foley for his pivotal research on global environmental systems, including the environmental impact of agriculture as the world seeks to feed an ever-growing population. In response to the looming challenge of feeding the nine billion-plus people anticipated by 2050, Dr. Foley worked with colleagues across the globe to create a five-point plan to double the world's food production, primarily by focusing on improving agricultural efficiency, reducing waste and shifting diets.
  • Human Condition: Salman Khan, of Mountain View, Calif. - The Heinz Awards recognized Mr. Khan for his highly acclaimed Khan Academy, a nonprofit educational organization that has reimagined how millions of children and students of all ages across the globe are learning subjects as diverse as mathematics, biology, economics, art history and astronomy. Khan Academy's website now hosts more than 5,000 instructional videos and interactive lessons that are used by site visitors from almost every nation. Materials from Khan Academy have been translated into more than 25 languages.
  • Public Policy: Sanjeev Arora, M.D., of Albuquerque, N.M. - Dr. Arora is a liver disease specialist at the University of New Mexico. He received the Heinz Award for creating and leading the expansion of Project ECHO, or Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes. Using widely available video conferencing technology along with case-based learning, Project ECHO expands the capacities of primary care clinicians to manage serious, chronic, complex conditions, including Hepatitis C, HIV, chronic pain, rheumatoid arthritis and psychiatric disorders. Project ECHO's footprint has grown from its origins in New Mexico to more than a dozen states, including Illinois, Nevada, Massachusetts, Texas and Washington, as well as to India and Uruguay.
  • Technology, the Economy and Employment: Leila Janah, of San Francisco, Calif. - Ms. Janah is a social entrepreneur with a passion for empowering the impoverished to improve their lives. Ms. Janah, one of the youngest people to be recognized by the Heinz Awards, was honored for founding the nonprofit Samasource, and more recently, SamaUSA, which use the power of technology and the global reach of the Internet to train and employ people in some of the poorest regions of the world. Companies who contract with Samasource for a project commit to hiring women, youth and refugees. Since 2008, the organization has grown to provide training and employment opportunities to nearly 5,000 people and has lifted as many as 20,000 people out of poverty.

At the ceremony, in addition to the $250,000 award, each recipient received a medallion inscribed with the image of Senator Heinz on one side and a rendering of a globe passing between two hands on the other.

About the Heinz Awards

Established by Teresa Heinz in 1993 to honor the memory of her late husband, U.S. Senator John Heinz, the Heinz Awards celebrates the accomplishments and spirit of the Senator by recognizing the extraordinary achievements of individuals in the areas of greatest importance to him. The awards, administered by the Heinz Family Foundation, recognize individuals for their contributions in the areas of Arts and Humanities; Environment; Human Condition; Public Policy; and Technology, the Economy and Employment. Nominations are submitted by invited experts, who serve anonymously, and are reviewed by jurors appointed by the Heinz Family Foundation. The jurors make recommendations to the Board of Directors, which subsequently selects the Award recipients. For more information on the Heinz Awards, visit

Jeff Donaldson 

Kim O'Dell 

Photo -

SOURCE Heinz Family Foundation