Cindy Hensley McCain
Cindy McCain The Trevor Hero Award honors an individual who works to increase visibility and understanding of the LGBT community.
Cindy Hensley McCain has dedicated her life to improving the lives of those less fortunate both in the United States and around the world. She is known for lending her time and talent to increase awareness of charity health organizations and the work they do to make the world a better place.
As an advocate for children’s health care needs, Cindy led 55 medical missions to third world and war-torn countries with the American Voluntary Medical Team. On one of those missions, Mother Teresa encouraged Cindy to take two infants in need of medical attention to the United States. Cindy later adopted one of those children, her 21-year-old daughter, Bridget McCain.
It was through her experience with adoption that Cindy came to support LGBT issues, recognizing that that children who need love are sometimes barred from receiving it from loving parents, or their parents’ love isn’t recognized. In 2009, Cindy first learned about The Trevor Project through her daughter Meghan, who attended our NY gala that year. Together, they joined Trevor’s major donor group now known as Friends of Trevor. In 2010, Cindy came out publicly as an ally and supporter of the LGBT community participating in the Log Cabin Republicans’ conference and the release of a NoH8 video. She has since been a vocal advocate for LGBT equality.
As a prominent voice and influencer in the GOP, Cindy’s support of equality for LGBTQ people resonates through conservative communities, where the majority of Trevor’s youth live. Leading by example, Cindy shows parents that they can stay true to who they are – their regional and religious values and political convictions – and also support LGBTQ youth as people who have a right to marry, to adopt children, and to lead happy, successful lives.
Outside of the LGBT community, Cindy serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for the HALO Trust, a non-profit organization dedicated to landmine removal and weapons destruction in war-torn countries, Cindy has traveled to numerous countries to see firsthand the impact HALO has had by removing landmines. She served on the Board of Directors for Operation Smile, a non-profit organization whose mission is to repair cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities for children around the world. Cindy has also traveled extensively on behalf of World Food Programme, visiting mother and child feeding programs in Cambodia, Sierra Leone, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Cindy is a Founding Member of the Eastern Congo Initiative. She’s travelled to the region four times in the last two years and is committed to raising awareness on the travesties facing women and children in the Congo. After traveling to South Korea as an Ambassador to the 2013 Winter Games, she recently joined the board of the Special Olympics 2015 Summer Games in Los Angeles.
In addition to her humanitarian work, Cindy is the chairman of her family’s business, Hensley & Company, which is one of the largest Anheuser-Busch distributors in the nation.
Her formal education includes an undergraduate degree in Education and a Master’s in Special Education from the University of Southern California. As a student, Cindy participated in pilot programs testing Movement Therapy, which is now a widely accepted standard for working with severely disabled children. After receiving her degrees from USC, she began her teaching career at Agua Fria High School in Arizona where she continued her work with disabled children. Mrs. McCain is a member of the USC Rossier School of Education Board of Councilors, a group of civic and education leaders who provide guidance, support and advocacy for the school’s work.
Cindy lives in Phoenix with her husband, U.S. Senator John McCain. Together, they have four children: Meghan, Jack, Jimmy, and Bridget.