"The Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund was created so that young women could attain empowerment through the pursuit of education," said Heidi B. Jark, vice president and manager of the Foundation Office at Fifth Third Bank. "By partnering with Wittenberg University, we have the opportunity to affect the lives of deserving women, at a place which upholds the values that the Schmidlapp family stood for."
Based in Cincinnati and one of the first independent foundations established in Ohio, The Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund, Fifth Third Bank, Trustee, was founded in 1908 by Jacob G. Schmidlapp following his daughter’s death as a result of car accident in France, according to the Ohio Grantmakers Forum (OGF).
"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," the OGF noted. "Today, the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund in Cincinnati is the largest fund in the country dedicated exclusively to the needs of women and girls."
In June 2007, The Schmidlapp Fund approved a $250,000 matching gift to Wittenberg to assist in building the university’s scholarship resources. With the challenge underway, Wittenberg alumni and friends were inspired to extend themselves even more financially despite the current economic situation. In just 12 months of the challenge, alumni and friends exceeded the $250,000 challenge, resulting in substantial scholarship support for the university.
"Wittenberg is most grateful for Fifth Third Bank’s continuing support to expand our resources to meet the financial needs of our talented young scholars," said Wittenberg President Mark H. Erickson. "The challenge set before us by The Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund inspired countless alumni and friends to invest in our students in an extraordinary way."
The $250,000 gift from the Schmidlapp Fund will establish the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Endowed Scholarship Fund, which will help the university achieve its long-term goal of increasing endowed scholarship support to assist in the recruitment and retention of high-performing students. The annual distribution from the Schmidlapp Endowed Scholarship Fund will provide scholarship support for Wittenberg women from southwestern Ohio with preference given to students from Cincinnati and Piqua.
Written By: Karen Gerboth
Photo By: Robert Gantt
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