Kate Schulte was born and raised in Kansas. Her family had a strong moral code and she was drawn to social justice causes from an early age.
Kate moved to Columbus, Ohio, in 1975. She became active in the Columbus Tenant Union, working to protect tenant rights, and in other community organizations. She soon got a secretarial job at a civil rights law firm and was inspired to go to law school and become an attorney. Upon graduation, she returned to the firm as a member of their legal team. She eventually became a partner in the firm.
Major cases Kate worked on included Police Officers for Equal Rights race discrimination suit against the City of Columbus, efforts to make becoming a fire fighter more accessible for women, and forcing municipalities throughout Ohio to comply with the ADA by installing curb ramps. The curb ramps are a constant visual tribute to her life and her commitment to equal justice. Kate was also local counsel when the ACLU helped preserve the separation of church and state in Columbus Public Schools by forcing a settlement that established a policy on religious music
Outside her work as a civil rights attorney, Kate worked actively to promote equal justice and equal rights. She was active in resisting the Ku Klux Klan, protecting women’s health clinics, and much more.
She loved all kinds of music, especially the music of New Orleans – a city she visited many times. in the 1990’s, she worked with the Center for New Choices and her husband, Michael Vander Does, to bring some of America’s greatest jazz musicians to Columbus. The artists included Dewey Redman, Rashied Ali, Joe Lovano, and most notably Edward “Kidd” Jordan. Kidd has become a fixture at the Tribute concerts.