The Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund, Fifth Third Bank, Trustee, Gives $1.6 Million Endowment to Support Career Development of Minority Women in Medicine and Biomedical Research

The Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund, Fifth Third Bank, Trustee, has gifted Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center with $1.66 million to permanently endow the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Scholars program. The program enhances access and support for young, underrepresented minority women interested in pursuing careers in medicine and biomedical research.

"The Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund was created to uplift and strengthen the lives of young women," said Heidi Jark, senior vice president and managing director, Foundation Office at Fifth Third Bank. "We are proud to support this program, as it provides women with the knowledge and skills that they need to be successful in the STEM and biomedical research industries."

The Charlotte R. Schmidlapp STEM Scholars piloted in 2017 and supports underrepresented minority girls and young women from middle school through college to pursue their interests in science and biomedical research. Through research opportunities, mentorship, structured networking and science symposiums, the goal of the program is to increase the number of young underrepresented minority women who eventually go to medical and/or graduate school. 

"Nationally, there is a critical shortage of underrepresented minority women in medicine and in biomedical research, which adversely impacts efforts to optimize clinical outcomes, improve health equity, and conduct innovative, high-quality research," said Jessica Kahn, MD, MPH, Associate Chair of Academic Affairs and Career Development at Cincinnati Children's. "We want to be part of the solution to increase the number of underrepresented minority women who will transform patient care and conduct breakthrough research."

Because of the program's important role in fostering diversity of women in science, Cincinnati Children's will make an equal investment in the endowment and has pledged to help support the program until the endowment is fully funded in five years.

"We are deeply committed to supporting the development of young women who have been historically underrepresented in biomedical sciences and helping them reach their wildest dreams," said Jamilah Hackworth, EdD, Director of the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp STEM Scholars program.

For more information about the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp (STEM) Scholars program, go to: Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Women Scholars Program.

­­­About the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund

The Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund was one of the first independent foundations in Ohio. It begun in 1908 in Cincinnati by Jacob G. Schmidlapp after the death of his daughter, Charlotte, in a car accident in France. Schmidlapp founded Union Savings and Trust, which later merged into what is now Fifth Third Bancorp. He instructed the fund's trustees to make grants that would aid women to establish themselves in life. With the theme of ennoble, empower and uplift, The Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund was one of the first funds in the country created and solely dedicated exclusively to the needs of women and girls.

About the Foundation Office at Fifth Third Bank

The Foundation Office at Fifth Third Bank currently oversees over 300 private and corporate foundations which distribute grants in excess of $70 million annually. The Foundation Office is a member of the Council on Foundations, Philanthropy Ohio, Council of Michigan Foundations, PEAK Grantmaking and Philanthropy West Virginia, and abides by the guiding principles of these organizations for family and corporate foundations. The Foundation Office works with foundations residing across Fifth Third's 10-state footprint as well as other states in which Fifth Third Bank clients reside.