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“Our hero was catapulted
into history and his destiny. The Battle of the Bulge began today 75 years
ago in 1944.”
Bill Selm

I love it when historian and Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library (KVML) member Bill Selm refers to Kurt Vonnegut as “our hero.” Bill doesn’t know it, but he is also our hero. He shares with us all he knows about Kurt, his family history, the buildings Kurt’s grandfather and father built, and more. Bill spoke at our grand opening about the history of our new building at 543 Indiana Avenue, and it’s because of Bill’s speech that we are calling our outdoor exhibit “Arlene’s House of Music and Imperial Lounge.” Arlene Manson housed her record store and jazz lounge in part of this building in the second half of the twentieth century. Vonnegut’s words will be incorporated into the exhibit, but now that we have a building in this historic district, we can highlight all sorts of special things about its rich history.

I mentioned December
16 as the start of the Battle of the Bulge. It was also the birthday of
another one of our heroes, Mickey Maurer. Mickey and his wife Janie
not only contributed financially to our building this year but encouraged
others to do the same, recognizing this extraordinary opportunity for our Board
to reach its goals for the organization.

James Pattison of England is one of our heroes, volunteering
not just hours of research and social media posts but also his interior
painting skills. James traveled to Indiana for two weeks just to help us
get our building ready for Freedom to Read Week. Who does that? Our Vonnegut
Library heroes do that, that’s who.

Comedian Lewis Black is one of our heroes, along with his colleague Jen Hegarty. Then there are the many volunteers who help staff our library along with our employees: Beth Ann Broadhurst, Chuck Wuthrich, Kathleen Angelone, Ricco Schuster, and others who perform a host of tasks. Our professionals from Loftus Engineering, Mike Engledow of ArcDesign, National Bank of Indianapolis, Ben Pecar of Barnes & Thornburg, Linda Brundage and Curt Chuvalas of Nogginwerks, and Tommy Hutsell of Shiel Sexton put in countless hours this year. Thanks, too, to all the lawyers in the city who protect us from scammers and other ne’er-do-wells. Ed Battista of Bluebeard, who is setting up a second location in our building in early spring, provided hours of guidance and donated catering. Author and historian Aleta Hodge and Paula Brooks, Judy Thomas of the Madam Walker Legacy Center, and our friends at Visit Indy and the Mayor’s Office—THANK YOU! All of our board members, donors, staff, volunteers, honorary and advisory board members, and community partners—we couldn’t have created Kurt’s Forever Home without your help.

I’ll end with one last story about the hero of our karass. Last week, a woman wrote to us about a podcast called Code Switch in which Kurt’s name is mentioned in relation to a dark spot in our nation’s history called Reverse Freedom Rides. I listened to the podcast wondering what on earth Kurt’s role was. Teary-eyed, I came away from the program further appreciating Our Hero Kurt Vonnegut—not a perfect human, but a good man, a very good man. Kurt created while others tried to destroy.

We at the KVML are still creating, too. Please come out and help us by volunteering a couple of hours a week, donating, or spreading the word about the good work we do. Please add your name to our list of heroes.

Happy Holidays, Heroes!



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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