Fifth Third-managed foundations grant $6.5M

Nine private family foundations at Fifth Third Bank announced grants totaling more than $6.5 million.

Grants were awarded to organizations that focus on education, arts and culture, civic and community programs, health and human services, and community reinvestment activities that benefit low- to moderate-income earners, small businesses, affordable housing, financial literacy and workforce development efforts.

Heidi Jark


“It is our honor to guide the philanthropic foundations of so many families,” said Heidi B. Jark, senior vice president and managing director of the foundation office at Fifth Third Bank. “It’s a privilege to know they have entrusted this work to our office. In times of economic uncertainty, we work diligently to ensure these organizations fulfill their mission of giving back to worthy charitable causes.”

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center received funds from the Jacob G. Schmidlapp Trust for an expansion of its College Hill Mental Health Facility. As the largest inpatient mental health provider of any children’s hospital in the U.S., Cincinnati Children’s is leading the charge to combat the devastating effects of mental illness. The College Hill campus is the hub for the medical center’s psychiatric services.

“One in five children struggles with mental health,” said Dr. Michael Sorter, director of the division of child and adolescent psychiatry at Cincinnati Children’s. “And we want to make sure we don’t miss any of them. That simply wouldn’t be possible without the support of those who share our vision.”

ArtWorks received funds from the Jacob G. Schmidlapp Trust for its capital campaign. The money will help renovate a historic building in the Peebles Corner section of Cincinnati’s Walnut Hills neighborhood. The resulting creative campus, ArtWorks’ first permanent home, will bring separate facilities under one roof and include an art gallery, community meeting rooms, offices for administrative staff and multiple art studios.

Jeff Sperry, senior director of advancement for ArtWorks, said the ability to have functioning year-round studios will greatly expand ArtWorks’ capacity to employ under-resourced youth and provide on-the-job training to inspire and retain a diverse, creative workforce for the region.

“Young artists need a dedicated space that provides year-round employment and fosters creative partnerships,” Sperry said. “A place where students can go after school to learn from experienced mentors, collaborate with creative executives, and earn a paycheck. This funding directly perpetuates focus areas of the Jacob G. Schmidlapp Trust – supporting the promotion of education and improving living conditions for area residents.”

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden received funds from the Helen G., Henry F., & Louise Tuechter Dornette Foundation, in support of Dornette Kanga Klimb Aerial Adventure Course. The Dornette Foundation’s $1 million pledge, provided over four years, to the Dornette Kanga Klimb was instrumental to the project’s construction by helping fund preliminary site preparation – a significant achievement in transforming a steep hillside to an ADA-accessible, state-of-the-art habitats for kangaroos and little blue penguins.

When the pandemic unfolded, the Dornette Foundation’s commitment assured Zoo officials they would get back on track as soon as COVID-19 disruptions eased. Although complications from the pandemic affected the timeline, the Dornette Kanga Klimb was completed in the spring of 2021. The attraction has since become a favorite of children, adults and families who visit our Zoo.

“The generous $1 million gift from the Dornette Foundation in support of Dornette Kanga Klimb Aerial Adventure Course helped us realize our vision for engaging the next generation of Zoo visitors,” said Thane Maynard, zoo director of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.

The foundation office at Fifth Third 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 U.S. 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.

Here are the nine private foundations, with the amounts granted and purpose:

  • Charles Moerlein Foundation, $170,000, supports religious, charitable, scientific, literary or educational purposes.
  • Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund, $1.75 million, supports initiatives that empower and assist women and girls in achieving self-sufficiency.
  • Eleanora C.U. Alms Trust, $185,000, supports charitable and educational purposes for the city of Cincinnati, with a focus on the arts.
  • Helen G., Henry F., & Louise Tuechter Dornette Foundation, $685,000, supports nature and the conservation of nature’s beauty, as well as organizations that are beneficial to children, with a preference to organizations that Miss Dornette identified during her lifetime.
  • Louis & Melba Schott Foundation, $85,000, supports assistance to youth, with emphasis on youth of primary school through junior high school age, who are disadvantaged because of medical conditions, economic status, family background, or for other similar reasons.
  • Patricia Kisker Foundation, $185,000, supports organizations that benefit or serve children, and educational, musical or arts organizations, as well as organizations that Patricia Kisker supported during her lifetime.
  • Jacob G. Schmidlapp Trusts, $2.63 million, supports charitable or educational purposes; for relief in sickness, suffering and distress; for the care of young children, the aged or the helpless or afflicted; for the promotion of education, and to improve living conditions.
  • Ohio Valley Foundation, $400,000, funds small equipment and capital improvement projects in the Ohio Valley.
  • Stillson Foundation, $435,000, helps children and provides assistance to those charities the Stillsons supported during their lifetime.

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