CINCINNATI—On Oct. 11, The Foundation Office at Fifth Third Bank marks the milestone anniversaries of two flagship philanthropic funds with a special event, "Celebrate a Legacy of Giving: The 120th Anniversary of the Jacob G. Schmidlapp Trusts and 115th Anniversary of the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund."
Jacob Schmidlapp founded one of Fifth Third’s most important origin banks, the Union Savings Bank and Trust Co., in 1890 and served as its president until 1907. Regarded by many as one of the greatest philanthropists in Cincinnati’s history, he committed himself to improving the lives of others.
In the last 40 years alone, the Jacob G. Schmidlapp Trusts and the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund have benefited our region through more than $120 million dollars in giving.
"Without his benevolence, the city of Cincinnati and the lives of countless Cincinnatians would be markedly different," said Heidi Jark, managing director of the Foundation Office at Fifth Third Bank. "His philanthropic legacy inspired countless others and transformed the Queen City. We’re proud to continue upholding Jacob’s legacy and his commitment to improving lives and giving back."
In 1903, Jacob Schmidlapp established his first charitable trust. That action inspired generations of community leaders and Fifth Third Bank to continue a legacy of giving. His strong belief in social equity inspired the creation of Cincinnati Model Homes Inc., which pioneered building safe, affordable housing for working families—including, importantly, African Americans.
He continued his legacy of giving by creating the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund to empower, ennoble and uplift women. It was named for one of his daughters, who died as a young woman in an automobile crash.
Women would not receive the right to vote for another 12 years, but Jacob Schmidlapp believed opportunity and experience were key to the advancement of women. In a letter to his friend and fellow philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, he wrote that women of the day played a vital role "shaping the directions of our futures." The fund, the first of its kind in the United States, provided scholarships and loans to women to allow them to attend college and become financially independent.
Calculating the collective impact of the trusts and fund through more than a century of transformed lives and economic impact, plus their influence on others, is impractical. Some snapshots, though, hint at the larger view.
For more than 100 years, the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund has funded scholarships and programming for the YWCA of Greater Cincinnati.
"The Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund demonstrates the transformational power of giving. Jacob Schmidlapp was a visionary and pioneer in philanthropy," said Rickell Howard Smith, YWCA Greater Cincinnati chief executive officer. "His legacy addressed equity at a time when conversations about wealth, power, and privilege were not taking place. The Schmidlapp gift changes lives at YWCA and touches every facet of our mission. It creates freedom for women who have escaped abuse, lifts up trailblazers in the workforce, and creates opportunities for the next generation of women. We are confident that Jacob would approve and see Charlotte in the women our mission serves."
The Jacob G. Schmidlapp Trusts have funded countless programs and organizations aligned with improving and promoting education, caring for children and those in need, and improving health and living conditions. Among those organizations is Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
"Jacob G. Schmidlapp Trust’s commitment to improving health and caring for children in need has impacted lives throughout our community," said Michael Sorter, MD, director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. "Your longstanding and thoughtful investment in our mission, most recently in support of children and teens needing mental healthcare, has helped us continue to improve and expand services to meet a growing need. Together we’re building a world where every child can live their best possible life."
The foundations and trusts of The Foundation Office at Fifth Third Bank, including the Jacob G. Schmidlapp Trusts and the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund, accept letters of inquiry from qualifying nonprofit organizations seeking grant support from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31 each year. For guidelines on the inquiry process, click here.
About Fifth Third
Fifth Third is a bank that’s as long on innovation as it is on history. Since 1858, we’ve been helping individuals, families, businesses and communities grow through smart financial services that improve lives. Our list of firsts is extensive, and it’s one that continues to expand as we explore the intersection of tech-driven innovation, dedicated people and focused community impact. Fifth Third is one of the few U.S.-based banks to have been named among Ethisphere’s World’s Most Ethical Companies® for several years. With a commitment to taking care of our customers, employees, communities and shareholders, our goal is not only to be the nation’s highest performing regional bank, but to be the bank people most value and trust.
Fifth Third Bank, National Association, is a federally chartered institution. Fifth Third Bancorp is the indirect parent company of Fifth Third Bank, and its common stock is traded on the NASDAQ® Global Select Market under the symbol "FITB." Investor information and press releases can be viewed at www.53.com.
About the Foundation Office at Fifth Third Bank
The Foundation Office at Fifth Third Bank, National Association, serves as trustee, co-trustee or agent for more than 300 private and corporate foundations that grant millions of dollars annually to worthy charities across the United States. The foundations support a variety of causes, from education to the arts and from basic-needs organizations like shelters and counseling centers to environmental projects and animal rescue.
To learn more about The Foundation Office at Fifth Third Bank, please visit 53.com/foundationoffice.