Empowering Women through Education

The Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund was one of the first private foundations in the state of Ohio and the first foundation in the country solely dedicated to women and girls. Jacob G. Schmidlapp created the Fund after the death of his daughter with the hope of offering to young women and girls the same opportunities he would have allotted her. “The main focus of the Fund is to empower, enable and uplift women and girls, so our mission has been very focused on educating women and girls since it was created,” says Heidi B. Jark, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of the Foundation Office at Fifth Third Bank which oversees the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund as Trustee.

While women were fighting for the most basic human rights in the early 1900s, including the right to vote, the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund was created to ensure their futures. This summer, Cincinnati Museum Center’s feature exhibition An Unfinished Revolution: Women and the Vote celebrates the centennial of the 19th Amendment, showcasing the courage and resilience of women who have fought for the right to vote.
The exhibition tells the story of years of struggle and sacrifice to secure the vote, and the ongoing fight by some groups for their own right to vote, making it a natural fit for the support of the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund. An Unfinished Revolution: Women and the Vote shows the power of the vote through historic documents and objects from Cincinnati Museum Center’s collections, along with detailed graphics. “Cincinnati Museum Center’s critical mission is education, whether it’s through the day-to-day experiences of the Museum, or through special exhibits such as this one,” states Jark.

An Unfinished Revolution: Women and the Vote addresses the pursuit for universal suffrage to ensure all citizens have a voice in their own government. Stories of women in office, both past and present, highlight the contributions of women in our government and the laws they championed. Thanks to the support of the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund and the Ohio Humanities Council, the exhibition is free with museum admission.

“Women and the Vote is such an important piece of our American history, and we’re excited to partner with Cincinnati Museum Center in bringing it to Cincinnati. Telling this story to several generations of visitors excites and moves all of us at the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund. It’s a story that needs to be told and this is the time and the place to tell it.”