The qualities that made John Heinz special — an enormous capacity to love, smile, take risks, question, work hard and believe in the power of the individual to improve the lives of others — were not unique to him. They are qualities which others possess and which, more than ever, hold the key to human progress. These are the attributes the Heinz Awards were created to honor.
Each year, candidates are considered for Heinz Awards in up to five categories. Each represents the areas in which John Heinz was most active: Arts and Humanities, Environment, Human Condition, Public Policy, and Technology, the Economy and Employment. Nominators are asked to suggest candidates who possess a remarkable mix of vision, optimism, creativity and hard work which, when combined, produce tangible achievements of lasting good. More specifically, candidates for a Heinz Award must meet three essential standards:
1. Nominees must exhibit the following personal characteristics:
A passion for excellence that goes beyond intellectual curiosity;
A concern for humanity rooted in a deep sensitivity for the well-being of others;
A broad vision which extends far beyond the particular and embraces something universal.
2. Work of the candidates for a Heinz Award must meet the following criteria:
Be significant and not a "quick fix."
Have an enduring and meaningful impact.
Be creative and innovative, and
Be sufficiently tangible to serve as a model for replication elsewhere.
3. In addition, candidates should be actively working in the field in which they are nominated so that this award will enhance their potential for future societal contribution.
An invited national Council of Nominators, comprised of individuals with expertise in the five categories, identifies qualified candidates.
Candidates for the Heinz Awards are selected without any action on their part. They are not required to render any service, either as a condition of being nominated or of receiving an award.
Nominations are reviewed by Foundation staff and then forwarded to one of five juries, one for each category. Juries make recommendations to the program’s Board of Directors for final approval. Award recipients will receive a cash prize of $250,000.
Recipients are chosen without regard to race, color, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or other categories protected by law. Nominees must be U.S. citizens. No award will be granted to members of the Council of Nominators, jury members, staff, directors or officers of the Foundation, or their family members, or to elected or appointed public officials.