Kurt Vonnegut famously said, “I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anyone tell you different.” Well, I just got to spend a very cool week at the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library (KVML) talking with cool people, learning about cool things, having cool experiences—you know, farting around. It was great fun! And now here I am, back to my real world of family and friends and comfortable sleeping, and lessons and essay grading and game plans, and so on. I suppose it’s hard to tell yet what parts of my experience will last beyond being pleasant memories and what things got in deep enough to germinate, but before I fade completely into obscurity, I’m reminded of something else that KV famously said, “I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.’” The quote is, in part, a tribute to his uncle but also a reminder to be aware of and grateful for the moments of happiness that often come in simple and unexpected ways. So, as I look back on my week at KVML during Freedom to Read Week, I have some exclaiming and murmuring to do.

There are a few people I want to thank publicly because, well, they more than deserve it. First, I want to thank my wife, not only for holding down the fort back in Tipton, but more importantly, for being so constantly and wholeheartedly supportive! Back at good ol’ Tipton High School, I’d like to thank Aaron Tolle and the rest of the football coaches, as well as my American Studies partner Phil Morgan, for picking up whatever slack my absence might have caused, my bosses for understanding the value of this amazing and unusual experience, and super-sub Barb Cardwell (whom the students affectionately call “Cardi B”) for filling in for me for the week.

Finally, I’d like to thank the amazing staff of KVML. The Vonnegut Museum is a treasure in Indianapolis, and the people who work and volunteer there are a treasure within a treasure! I knew they were brilliant and dedicated people, but being able to see behind the curtain for a few days showed me just how brilliant and dedicated (and flexible and talented and cool and nice and fun) they are. And, for a few days, anyway, I got to be a part of that amazing team! Lucky me!!!

Kathi Badertscher, PhD

Director of Graduate Programs at the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
Kathi Badertscher, PhD, is Director of Graduate Programs at the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Dr. Badertscher teaches a variety of BA, MA, and doctoral courses, including Applying Ethics in Philanthropy and History of Philanthropy. She has participated in several Teaching Vonnegut workshops and is a member of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library. Dr. Badertscher has been a guest speaker on ethics in philanthropy, including at the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners – Indianapolis Council; Association of Fundraising Professionals – Indiana Chapter; and Zhou Enlai School of Government, Nankai University, Tianjin, China. In 2019 she received IUPUI Office for Women, Women’s Leadership Award for Newcomer Faculty. In 2019 and 2020 she received the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Graduate Teaching Award.
Dr. Badertscher’s publications include “Fundraising for Advocacy and Social Change,” co-authored with Shariq Siddiqui in Achieving Excellence in Fundraising, 5th ed., 2022; “Insulin at 100: Indianapolis, Toronto, Woods Hole, and the ‘Insulin Road,’ co-authored with Christopher Rutty, Pharmacy in History (2020); and three articles in the Indiana Magazine of History: “A New Wishard Is on the Way,” “Evaline Holliday and the Work of Community Service,” and “Social Networks in Indianapolis during the Progressive Era.” Her chapters on social welfare history will appear in three upcoming edited volumes on the history of philanthropy, including “The Legacy of Edna Henry and Her Contributions to the IU School of Social Work,” Women at Indiana University: Views of the Past and the Future, edited by Andrea Walton, Indiana University Press, 2022 (forthcoming). Dr. Badertscher is also the Philanthropy and Nonprofits Consulting Editor for the forthcoming Digital Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, edited by David J. Bodenhamer and Elizabeth Van Allen, Indiana University Press, 2021. Dr. Badertscher is an active volunteer in the Indianapolis community. At present, she is a Coburn Place Safe Haven Board Member and a Children’s Bureau/Families First Brand and Marketing Advisor. Dr. Badertscher holds the MA in History from Indiana University and the MA and PhD in philanthropic studies from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

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