Close this search box.

For Tom Pado, life has always been about challenges. As a kid in Gary, Indiana, his family struggled. Tom also struggled in school, and it took him years before he learned to read. But he was a curious little guy, always tinkering (and nearly blowing up the house on multiple occasions). Like many of us, he ran into many roadblocks and, yet, became a submariner in the U. S. Navy. He earned multiple degrees, and eventually, built state-of-the-art ROVs (remotely occupied vehicles) and a wildly successful sub-sea engineering business in Australia. Now, at age 73, he’s written a book about his life.

Over the last few years, he’s become involved with the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library (KVML), helping judge essay contests and attending events. Recently, he issued a challenge of his own. In these precarious times, Tom understands the need to keep funding KVML, even though our doors are temporarily closed. That’s why he generously donated $500 and asked fans to reciprocate. Thanks to everyone’s generosity, we earned $2000! If you missed Tom’s challenge but would still like to donate, click here.

We recently talked to Tom to learn why he supports KVML.

How did you first get involved with the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library (KVML)?

Julia Whitehead, the founder and CEO of KVML, spoke at our Rotary club. What she shared about the organization interested me.

As we all try to wrap our heads around this “new reality” in which are living, you gave us a very generous and much appreciated donation. Why?

KVML needs support now more than ever during these unusual times.

What advice would you give folks about continued support of arts organizations like ours, especially now?

I suggest that everyone take advantage of our time at home by picking up a Kurt Vonnegut book to read. Then, get and stay connected through the KVML webpage. KVML needs your monetary support, especially with the restrictions and closures put on such a great arts facility. That’s why I encourage everyone to chip in whatever they can to support the organization during these challenging times. It’s important that the arts thrive.

What is your favorite Vonnegut quote and why? 

My favorite is “I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.” This is pretty much how I’ve lived my life. Kurt is spot on.

What are your hopes for KVML as we move forward?

I want to see KVML continue to grow and succeed in bringing the arts into the daily lives of people in the community.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Kurt Vonnegut was an author who provided important messages and lessons through his writings. Although I am not as skilled as he was, he inspired me to put my own story to paper. I am proud that my book, Damn the Pressure, Full Speed Ahead is now available on Amazon as both an e-book and in print. Every book brings something new to its readers, and I am honored to join the ranks of people who do that; people called authors.

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.

Volunteer With KVML

Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library Volunteer Application

Please contact [email protected] if you have any questions about this application’s content.