Ways to Give

The Athenaeum
As early as 1921, renowned astronomer and Caltech Trustee George Ellery Hale envisioned an “athenaeum” in Pasadena to promote social, cultural, and intellectual interaction among three centers of scholarship in Southern California—the California Institute of Technology,The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, and the Mount Wilson Observatory. In 1929, Mr. and Mrs. Allan C. Balch presented the Institute with a generous gift to establish this prestigious private club on the Institute’s campus. The Athenaeum opened its doors in November 1930. The first formal dinner was held in January 1931 to commemorate Albert Einstein’s two-month sojourn at the Institute.

Singular among preeminent university faculty clubs and one of Pasadena’s notable civic assets, The Athenaeum provides a focal point for the exchange of ideas among scholars and enthusiasts of science, technology, art, literature, history, and government. It is not uncommon to come across the most renowned scholars in their fields—including well-known Nobel laureates—sharing ideas and discussing current research while gathered for a meal in the dining room or drinks in the Hayman Lounge. The Athenaeum has been the readily available substrate for all sorts of these discussions.The creative, intellectual energy proliferates to every corner of the building. Thus, The Athenaeum naturally holds a very special stature on the Caltech campus and in its surrounding community.

Preserving a Legacy
The Athenaeum’s operations have grown substantially over the years.  On an average day, the club hosts 350 guests to regular meals in its private and main dining rooms.  The heavily used facility requires regular maintenance and periodic refurbishment to sustain the qualityof the club’s amenities and to preserve the building’s unique architecture.The annual resources set aside to maintain and improve the facility are no longer sufficient to cover major capital projects required to modernize the aging facilities in The Athenaeum. Escalating maintenance costs have deterred the ability to take on some of these renovation projects. The Athenaeum Architectural Preservation Fund (AAPF) will ensure the sustainability, perpetuity and certainty of preserving The Athenaeum; a Caltech and Pasadena jewel.

The Goal
To more effectively meet its current and future needs, The Athenaeum Board of Governors has set a goal of raising endowed resources solely dedicated to support the ongoing maintenance, restoration,preservation and rejuvenation of The Athenaeum. 
Initial projects (to be) funded through the endowment include:

  • Refurbishing the main dining areas.
  • Renovating the hotel guestrooms and suites.
  • Renovating the Rathskeller.
  • Expanding the footprint of the very popular Rath al Fresco summer dining space with the newly built Pavilion.
  • And in the future, constructing the Loggia into a more usable space for members.

The Athenaeum Architectural Preservation Fund will provide a permanent and consistent resource for projects that will preserve and protect the building’s unique historic and architectural integrity. As a result, the Fund will secure and shelter the integrity of The Athenaeum’s architectural heritage and guarantee the club’s vibrancy for generations to come.

Funding Opportunities
We invite you to support the Athenaeum Architectural Preservation Fund today by making a tax-deductible donation or a five-year pledge. You may make your gift online (choose Athenaeum Architectural Preservation Fund in list of Specific Designations), by check, or through your Athenaeum member account. Planned gifts or the donation of appreciated securities are also accepted. Please contact Marisu Jimenez, The Athenaeum’s General Manager, at (626) 395-8260 or Megan Denison, Caltech Development Officer, at (626) 395-1529 to discuss your philanthropic goals.  

We also welcome your inquiries about recognition on our donor board, naming opportunities, and special projects.   

Your gift today will help to secure The Athenaeum in the future.

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