Established in 1993 to honor Sen. John Heinz (R-PA), who was killed in a plane crash in 1991, the awards recognize extraordinary individuals for their creativity and determination in finding solutions to critical issues in five areas that were important to Heinz: the arts and humanities; the environment; the human condition; public policy; and technology, the economy, and employment. Each honoree will receive an unrestricted cash prize of $250,000.
This year's recipients are Norman Atkins, an educator whose models for preparing, equipping, and training teachers and school leaders are effecting dramatic, positive change in public school classrooms and leading to gains in teacher diversity; Ming Kuo, a psychologist whose research on the impact of urban green space on physical and mental health is changing urban forest and landscape design policy; Ralph Lemon, a choreographer, writer, visual artist, and curator whose body of work interweaves movement, media, visual arts, and language; Sherri Mason, a global expert on freshwater microplastic pollution whose research is raising awareness of microplastics, microfibers, and other contaminants in U.S. freshwater systems and leading to policy changes around the world; Linda Rottenberg, a social entrepreneur whose global nonprofit, Endeavor, is opening doors of economic opportunity for business owners in developing countries and the U.S.; and Enric Sala, PhD, a marine ecologist working at the intersection of science and policy to protect the world's last pristine marine environments.
"This year's awardees are exemplary in their area of discipline and, more importantly, demonstrate an unwavering determination to overcome obstacles to create change, foster good, and inspire new thinking," said Heinz Family Foundation chair Teresa Heinz. "In their unique and individual ways, our honorees break through barriers to explore new frontiers of ingenuity and human endeavor to create a better, more sustainable world for us all. In these troubling times, they are a reminder of humankind's capacity for good."