Athenaeum secures funding for next phase of capital campaign

Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust awards $100,000 grant to the Athenaeum Foundation

Indianapolis (November 22, 2016) – The Athenaeum Foundation has received a substantial grant that will fund the next phase of its capital campaign, “A Makeover on Mass Ave.” The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust has announced a $100,000 grant to the Athenaeum Foundation.

With this grant, the Athenaeum has now reached 86 percent of its campaign goal of $1.2 million.

“Watching this campaign evolve from an idea to a reality has been incredible,” said Athenaeum President Cassie Stockamp. “We are so grateful to the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust and excited to continue renovations.”

Publicly launched in January, “A Makeover on Mass Ave.” is the foundation’s plan to renovate several areas within the Athenaeum, including the west entrance, west entrance reception area, first and second floor lobbies, theatre and portions of the Biergarten.

The $100,000 grant will primarily go toward much needed work to sound proof the Biergarten’s east wall to prevent sound bleed-over from the Biergarten into the historic Athenaeum theatre.

“With each renovation, we’re upgrading the facility to ensure its relevance for years to come without compromising the history of the building,” said Athenaeum Board President Brad Boyd. “These renovations will allow the Athenaeum to remain a prominent destination for cultural and arts entertainment in the community.”

The Athenaeum was recently designated as a National Historic Landmark by the National Register and National Historic Landmarks Program, the first such designation for an Indianapolis landmark in nearly 15 years. The historic building is now part of an exclusive group of just more than 40 Indiana landmarks to receive the designation, and one of approximately 2,500 landmarks nationally.

The 94,000 square foot structure hosts approximately 750,000 visitors annually by serving as a community center for many cultural, business, and nonprofit groups, including the city’s oldest restaurant The Rathskeller, YMCA, Young Actors Theatre, the Indiana German Heritage Society, Indiana Downtown Artists and Dealers Association, Kids Dance Outreach, Indy Baroque Music, Inc., Indy Metro Church, KLF Legal, IUPUI Max Kade German-American Center and Pet Pals TV.

In 2015, the Athenaeum held 1,888 events, including its five popular annual heritage events: Karneval, Kinder Karneval, St. Benno Fest, GermanFest, and St. Nikolaus.

“For so many years, the Athenaeum has been a historic landmark, as well as a gathering place for the Indianapolis community,” said Stockamp. “We are so thrilled and most of all thankful for everyone who has helped us toward our fundraising goal. It is because of that dedication and effort, we are able to preserve and sustain this amazing space.”

Those who are interested in donating to the Athenaeum capital campaign may click here to give online.


The Athenaeum, formerly known as the Das Deutsche Haus, is a historic German-American landmark that advances the “sound mind in a sound body” values of its founders through programming that lifts spirits and engages diverse communities. Built in 1894, it serves as a community center for many cultural, business and nonprofit groups including the YMCA, Young Actors Theatre and the Rathskeller restaurant. The Athenaeum is listed three times in the National Registry of Historic Places for architecture and historical significance, as part of the Massachusetts Avenue Commercial District and as being within the Lockerbie Square historic district. In 2010, the Biergarten was voted the No. 1 music venue in the city of Indianapolis by NUVO magazine. Metromix voted the Rathskeller as the No. 1 bar in the city in 2010. The Athenaeum Foundation Inc. was established in 1991 and is a 501(c) 3 organization.

The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust was established upon the death of Nina Mason Pulliam in 1997 to support the causes she loved in her home states of Indiana and Arizona. The Trust seeks to help people in need, protect animals and nature, and enrich community life in metropolitan Indianapolis and Phoenix. Since its inception the Trust has distributed more than $268 million. For more information visit