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Dr. Amy Acton announced as 2020 Spirit of Columbus award winner

Announcement made by Governor during State’s daily briefing

Photo courtesy of The Columbus Dispatch

Columbus, OH (April 17, 2020) — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today announced Dr. Amy Acton, Director of the Ohio Department of Health, has been selected as The Columbus Foundation’s 2020 recipient of The Spirit of Columbus Award.

Dr. Acton was selected to recognize and honor her outstanding work and leadership in the community, and to represent all of Ohio’s public health workers, first responders, and medical personnel on the front lines fighting the COVID-19 crisis.

“The heroism shown by our first responders during this time fills us with pride and reminds us of the strength of our community. There could be no better representative of our medical professionals’ hard work, grit, and commitment to community than Dr. Acton. We know firsthand how dedicated to her work and passionate she is about our residents’ well-being.”


As a Community Research and Grants Management Officer at The Columbus Foundation prior to her current appointment, Dr. Acton demonstrated the same tenacity now seen in the daily press conferences she holds with Governor Mike DeWine. During the Foundation’s 2018 Critical Need Alert: Our Kids, she helped lead an effort that raised more than $2.4 million to support high quality early childhood education and bolster collaborative efforts to effectively end youth homelessness, far surpassing its initial goal of $1.5 million.

“This award honors those in Columbus who exemplify bravery, determination, and the resolve to see a challenge and tackle it,” said Kridler. “This has Amy’s name written all over it.” Numerous previous award winners, including entrepreneur Jeni Britton Bauer, author Michelle Alexander, and poet Scott Woods, honored Dr. Acton in a video tribute.

The Spirit of Columbus Award was created in 2013 in honor of pilot Jerrie Mock, the first woman to fly solo around the world. The award recognizes those who exhibit exemplary community spirit through their efforts and accomplishments.

As this year’s honoree, Dr. Acton will receive a “Jerrie,” a bronze miniature of the Jerrie Mock sculpture at John Glenn Columbus International Airport, created by local artist Renate Fackler.

In addition to the sculpture, the Foundation will make a $50,000 grant in honor of Dr. Acton to Star House, a social service organization that operates a drop-in center for youth experiencing homelessness and provides immediate access to basic needs and connections to stabilizing resources.

Mock, a Bexley mother of three, took off from Port Columbus on March 19, 1964. She landed her single-engine Cessna, “Spirit of Columbus,” safely back in Columbus on April 17 after 29 days, 21 stops, and more than 23,000 miles.

Mock was named the first recipient in 2013, along with Jeni Britton Bauer and David Brown. Additional award recipients include: the late Denny Griffith, former Mayor Michael B. Coleman, Tanny Crane, Jane Grote Abell, Michelle Alexander, Columbus’ leading African American artists, and last year, those who contributed to the “Save the Crew” movement.

About The Columbus Foundation

The Columbus Foundation serves nearly 3,000 individuals, families, and businesses that have created unique funds and planned gifts to make a difference in the lives of others through the most effective philanthropy possible. The Columbus Foundation is Your Trusted Philanthropic Advisor® and one of the top 10 largest community foundations in the United States. 

April 17, 2020