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The Columbus Foundation Names "Columbus' True Originals" for 2020

Award celebrates those among us who expand our horizons as a community through groundbreaking, original work.

COLUMBUS, OH (January 23, 2020) — A renowned climate research scientist, acclaimed author, and two pairs of husband-wife art producers who have dedicated years to strengthening the arts in our community were recognized as this year’s “True Originals” at The Columbus Foundation today.

Columbus' True Originals for 2020. (l-r): Jack and Zoe Johnstone; Hanif Abdurraqib; Jackie Calderone; Lonnie Thompson, Ph.D.; and Robert Post.

Created in 2019, True Originals shines a light on those representing the best minds and hearts in the region. Recipients received a $5,000 grant to make to the nonprofit of their choice. This year, the ceremony honored the extraordinary talents and contributions of:

  • Hanif Abdurraqib, poet, cultural critic, and author of multiple books, including: They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to a Tribe Called Quest, and A Fortune for Your Disaster
  • Jackie Calderone, founding director of TRANSIT ARTS, a program of Central Community House, and Robert Post, performer, director, and video artist
  • Jack and Zoe Johnstone, contemporary art and music producers
  • Lonnie Thompson, Ph.D., renown paleoclimatologist and distinguished university professor at The Ohio State University

“Columbus benefits greatly from the outstanding academic, artistic, and cultural contributions of its community members. We lift up those whose talents help define our region as an epicenter of creativity and problem-solving.”



Also announced at the event was a $200,000 grant to preserve the home of Columbus artist and MacArthur Fellow Aminah Robinson, who passed away in 2015. The grant caps the Foundation’s 75th anniversary and is a fitting tribute to Robinson, who created multiple original pieces for the Foundation’s 50th anniversary in 1993. More information can be found here.

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.

January 23, 2020