The Heinz Family Foundation in Pittsburgh has announced the winners of the twenty-fifth annual Heinz Awards.
Established in 1993 to honor the memory of Sen. John Heinz (R-PA), who was killed in a plane crash in 1991, the awards recognize extraordinary individuals for their achievement in finding solutions to critical issues in areas that were important to Heinz: the arts and humanities; the environment; the human condition; public policy; and technology, the economy, and employment. This year, a special category was added to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the award program. Each winner will receive an unrestricted cash prize of $250,000.
The seven winners of the 2020 Heinz Awards include pianist and composer Gabriela Lena Frank, who draws on her mixed-race Latina heritage to weave Latin American influences into classical constructs and break gender and cultural barriers in classical music composition; Linda E. Behnken, executive director of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association, whose advocacy efforts to preserve the Alaskan ecosystem are shaping policy and helping establish sustainable fishing practices at the local, regional, and national levels; and Molly Baldwin, founder of Roca, which serves young people who have been impacted by incarceration, poverty, and violence in one of Boston’s most diverse and economically disadvantaged communities.
The other honorees are Katy B. Kozhimannil, a professor and health services researcher whose work is focused on the rising rate of maternal mortality in rural, low-income communities and among women of color, the role of structural racism and implicit bias in healthcare, and the impact of racism on individual and community health; Alfa M. Demmellash and Alexander D. Forrester, co-founders of Rising Tide Capital, which provides business training, mentoring, and access to funding for entrepreneurs from low-income and working-class communities. David H. Autor, a leading voice in labor economics whose research is transforming the understanding of how workers and jobs are being affected by globalization and technological change, received the 25th Anniversary Special Recognition Award.
"For more than twenty-five years, the Heinz Awards has recognized men and women who demonstrate compassion and dedication to social and environmental good, who take on difficult challenges with courage, and who are improving the lives of others in ways that are both innovative and sustained," said Heinz Family Foundation chair Teresa Heinz. "In a year dominated by division and the catastrophic effects of a global pandemic, these recipients exemplify not only excellence in their field of work, but also the powerful contributions that one individual can make in building a better world for us all and for future generations."
(Photo credit: Dan Evans, Joshua Franzos, Raygen Samone, Mariah Tauger)