Heinz sale not expected to alter philanthropy

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The ownership changes coming to the H.J. Heinz Co. will have no impact on the sprawling philanthropic efforts in southwestern Pennsylvania of the Heinz family, which separated itself from the company decades ago.

"The Heinz Endowments will be the same after this deal as it was before. There are no changes," said Doug Root, a Heinz Endowments spokesman, who also noted that the philanthropy, which administers an average of $60 million in grants annually, has "a very tiny amount of stock" in the H.J. Heinz Co., about 1.2 percent of the endowments' $1.4 billion asset base.

There is also a Heinz Family Foundation, which mostly funds the Heinz Awards, created by Teresa Heinz to honor causes that were important to her late husband, Sen. John Heinz, who died in a plane crash in 1991.

The awards go to individuals excelling in the following categories: arts and humanities, environment, human condition, public policy, and technology, the economy and employment. That foundation's 2011 IRS return noted total assets of $109 million.

Three generations of family members ran the H.J. Heinz Co., which was founded in 1869, but they ended their management involvement after then-chairman Henry John "Jack" Heinz II died in 1987. In 1996, the family began divesting most of its shares in Heinz, a process that was completed a few years ago.

In 2007, the Heinz Endowments was formed as a result of a merger of the Howard Heinz Endowment, established in 1941, and the Vira I. Heinz Endowment, established in 1986.

The family's charitable efforts have evolved over the years, funding individual programs in five main areas: education; arts and culture; children, youth and family; the environment; and a place-based initiative connected to a community and economic development program.


Mackenzie Carpenter: mcarpenter@post-gazette.com; 412-263-1949; on Twitter @MackenziePG.


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