The Heinz Family Foundation (HFF) was established in 1984 and incorporated in 1992, in memory of Teresa Heinz Kerry‘s late husband, Republican U.S. Senator John Heinz. HFF is one of three affiliated foundations in the circle known as the Heinz Family Philanthropies (HFP), which are chaired by Teresa Heinz Kerry. The other two member charities of HFP are the H. John Heinz III Foundation and the Teresa & H. John Heinz III Foundation; both of these are technically funds within HFF and are fed by private trusts belonging to, and controlled by, Teresa Heinz Kerry.
HFF is primarily a funder of radical environmentalist groups. It identifies its additional fields of interest as: Arts, Education, Museums, Human Health and Aging, Women’s Economic Opportunities, and Cultural & Societal Enrichment. “To fuel progress,” says HFF, “we concentrate a significant portion of our energies on educating the people who influence social policy in these areas. In particular, we focus on those who write the laws and cast legislation-creating votes.”
HFF is best known for its sponsorship and administration of the annual Heinz Awards, which were created in 1993 to honor the late John Heinz. These Awards recognize “outstanding achievement” in the areas of: (a) Arts and Humanities; (b) The Environment; (c) The Human Condition; (d) Public Policy; and (e) Technology, the Economy and Employment. Winners are selected by the HFF board of directors and receive $250,000 apiece with their prize. Donald Berwick, Marian Wright Edelman, Paul Ehrlich, James Hansen, Hal Harvey, John Holdren, and August Wilson have been among the more notable Heinz Award recipients over the years. To view a list of all past winners, click here.
Among the many groups funded by the Heinz Family Foundation are the Brookings Institution, the Earth Action Network, the Earth Island Institute, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Environmental Media Association, the Environmental Working Group, the Feminist Majority Foundation, Global Exchange, the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Nature Conservancy, Oxfam America, Physicians for Social Responsibility, the Tides Foundation and Tides Center, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Women’s Policy.
Between 1993 and 2001, HFF awarded $57,300 in grants to the League of Conservation Voters (LCV). Then, early in the 2004 election cycle, LCV purchased and aired “One Candidate,” a political ad promoting the presidential campaign of Democratic Senator John Kerry, the husband of Teresa Heinz Kerry. “There’s only one candidate [Kerry] who can take on President Bush, with a record of fighting for clean water, clean air, and making polluters pay,” said the ad, which ran in Arizona and New Mexico prior to the Democratic primaries in those states.
HFF has also given at least $20,000 to the Justice Through Music Project (JTMP), a Maryland-based nonprofit that promotes radical environmentalist agendas, supports the anti-capitalist goals of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and claims to have registered some 100,000 people to vote between 2005-12. JTMP was founded by Brett Kimberlin, a former drug dealer who spent almost 17 years in prison after being convicted of detonating several bombs in a 1978 terror spree in Speedway, Indiana. As investigative journalist Matt Vaduum writes, “The litigious Kimberlin brags about the legal skills he acquired behind bars. The felon-cum-progressive activist targets people who write about him or who just plain annoy him.” Kimberlin has repeatedly sought to have conservative bloggers, authors, and political figures arrested.
To view a list of additional noteworthy grantees of the Heinz Family Foundation, click here.