View from Alki
Elizabeth just posted the following update about Mark's bench:

Update on Mark's bench: Sometime in the next week or so my contact will set up a date for us and a landscape architect to visit the park and select a site. They are still waiting for word on whether or not we can have a "mutt mitt" dispenser. They've approved the submitted plaque verbiage (thanks, Kij Johnson, for helping with that) which will read: "Every heart has a story. Share yours." In fact, they like it quite a lot. :) That's it for now. Thanks, everyone, for your support. It does make a difference.

Thank you, Elizabeth.

Here's a brief report on the statistics and ultimate success of the fundraiser for Mark's Bench, as read at Mark's Celebration of Life this past Saturday, 3/24. 

Please note the news in the last bullet and get ready for Phase 2!

  • Mark's Bench website launched on Friday, March 16 at about 4:20 pm.

  • In less than 24 hours, we raised $1,000.

  • In less than 48 hours, we'd raised almost $1800.

  • 50 people donated cash via the website (donations ranging from $2 to $200).

  • Over 1K people visited the website this week, from the US, Canada, the UK, New Zealand, Australia, France, India, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Lithuania. And they're still coming.

  • Thursday's auction on Facebook was a smashing success. In 24 hours, over a dozen people came up with items to donate to the auction. We auctioned an item each hour on Thursday starting at 10am. Just before 5 I came up for air, realized we'd blown past our goal by several hundred dollars. Auction donations were still coming in.

  • We suspended the auction to brainstorm about what to do. People wanted to help. They wanted to be part of it. Should we keep going? What to do with the overage? Scott had suggested a doggy bag dispenser--everyone loved that. Janna and I talked about the possibility of a sculpture. I was pondering a sculpture that dispensed doggy bags. Then Elizabeth told me someone had suggested a Clarion West scholarship fund in Mark's name. I think that's something he'd really get behind (although he would have loved the doggy bag dispenser, too, especially if it was arty). :)
I'll keep the website up and transition it to a fundraising website for the scholarship fund. I'll continue accepting items and services for donation, and I'll continue holding auctions via Facebook and eBay. Contact me on Facebook or via the contact form on the Questions page if you want to get involved or donate.

This has been a humbling, healing experience and I thank Elizabeth for letting me work on it. Thanks also to everyone who donated cash and items and bid (and won!) and shared and tweeted and sent me notes. What an amazing week.

Stay tuned for more updates on the Mark Bourne Clarion Scholarship Fund (working title).

That's right, friends, we've not only met our goal, we've blown the top right off it. Have a look! (Update: I have fixed the thermometer, which now shows the total raised. But trust me: it was broken!)

Thanks so much to everyone who donated cash and items and everyone who bid at the auction today. I am out of my mind with gratitude.

More news soon!

Join us on Facebook for the auction happening now
Signed Goodfellas cast photo
I'm pleased to announce that we have more than enough items to keep us busy for an entire day of auction madness, so we'll commence bidding at 10am Pacific tomorrow, Thursday 3/22.

It's not too late to donate items for Friday's auction. Use the contact form on the Questions page to let me know if you have something you'd like to give.

Grand Canyon Superwash by Dameselfly Yarns
Starting at 10am tomorrow you can bid on hand-dyed yarn (right), a signed, matted, and framed Goodfellas cast photo (above), professional editing services, website creation, handmade jewelry (below),  and many other items and services. Bidding will take place on Marti McKenna's Facebook page. Friend/subscribe or just stop by to participate. (If you can't for some reason, send me your top bid via the Questions page and if you win, I'll contact you.)

Citrine Dream by Janna Silverstein
You'll find instructions and bidding times on the Auction page. As you can see, it's going to be a busy day, so set your alarms for the items you want!

Also, please share the Auction page and these updates so all of Mark and Elizabeth's friends and fans can be a part of this. I don't know about you all, but I'm finding this project to be a healing experience, and I want to share that with everyone.

Photo: Shelly Rae Clift
In order to help us make our goal by Saturday, a number of Mark and Elizabeth's friends are donating items and services for a series of fundraising auctions we'll hold live on Facebook this week.

Watch this space for details, including where to go when for each auction and images of items where available/appropriate.

Here are just a few of the items we'll have up for auction:
  • Tuckerization: Your name in an upcoming urban fantasy novel.
  • Children's Books: A selection of brand new books for young children
  • Editing services by a professional editor
  • Live music at your party
  • A photo-session with a pro photographer
  • Website creation
More on these and other items soon. Meanwhile, I hope some of you can think of things or services, real or virtual, that you can offer. Use the contact form on the Questions page to let us know what you'd like to donate, or leave a comment below.
I'm issuing a challenge. It's not much of a challenge at this point, I'm afraid, but I'm issuing it nonetheless. If you'd asked me on Friday when this site launched whether I thought we'd make it to our goal by the day of Mark's Celebration of Life, I'd have said it was a long-shot. But at this rate, we could make it by breakfast.

Over the weekend, friends of Mark and Elizabeth, and people who never met either of them, have donated nearly $2,000. We are 2/3 of the way to funding funding Mark's Bench. Way to go, people. With every donation, you make my heart soar.

So yeah, that's my challenge. Let's push the Bench-O-Meter over the top before Saturday so we can announce at the celebration that Elizabeth's wish has been granted by the people who love her and Mark.

$3K by Saturday! Pass it on!

Here's to you, Mark.
Mark and Elizabeth's friends (and friends of friends) are donating at an astounding rate. Yesterday we hit the $1,000 milestone in less than 24 hours, and today we blew past the halfway point. As I write this, the Bench-O-Meter is at $1,660.

Don't get me wrong: I knew we would do this. I had no doubt. I just didn't know how quickly people would rise to the occasion. I posted this site on a Friday and I expected to see some donations, sure, but I didn't hope to see any real action until after the weekend. Silly me.

I've received permission to share the following messages from donors (in addition to those posted previously):

What a wonderful thing! I hope there's a picnic/walk/celebration on the day it's installed. Thank you, Marti and Shelly, for making it happen. ~Astrid Bear

You will never be forgotten. ~Amy Wolf

What a wonderful way to remember Mark. And it will let so many people know how much he meant to his friends and family. ~K. W. & Geri Jeter

Dear Elizabeth: I welcome the chance to help others share Mark's point of view. Love, Janet F-D

Dean and I will miss Mark. In no way does this or any memorial replace him, but at least it will give people the kind of enjoyment that Mark himself tried to bring into any situation. (If only a bench could crack a really good joke...) Hugs to everyone, Kris (&Dean)

Mark was an inspiration and a gift to the world. ~Todd McCaffrey

I couldn't have said it better.

As I write this, the Bench-O-Meter sits at $980. That's nearly a thousand dollars raised in the less than 24 hours this site has been up. You people are amazing.

Watching the donations pour in for Mark's Bench, one surprising thing has been the fact that some of you never knew Mark. You chipped in because you knew people who loved Mark, you saw how losing him affected your friends, and you were convinced that you would have loved him, too, had you had the chance. You saw a community coming together to support a friend, and you wanted to help.

Here's to one of your friends. ~ Stephen Dale

I did not know Mark, but I knew of him, and how much he was loved by Scarlettina and others she knew. Please accept this in his memory. ~ GraceAnne DeCandido

I didn't know Mark, but they say you can judge a person by the company they keep. And I do know many people who knew him and judging by that criteria, the fact I will not get to know him is a huge loss. I look forward to visiting Seattle, sitting on his bench and hearing stories about him. ~ Jaq Greenspon

Thank you, friends of friends. You are testament to the power of love.

More notes coming soon. Leave your comments below. Click the tabs at the top of this page for more information.

Moments after I posted this, a new donation put us over $1K in 24 hours. Way to go, people! You ROCK!

And another note from someone who didn't know Mark:

I never met Mark or Elizabeth, but I know too many friends affected by his passing. What an awesome memorial tribute. ~Daneen McDermott
Mark, Shelly Rae Clift, and friend
In less than 24 hours, you have donated $540 toward Mark's Bench. It fills me with glee each time I get notification of a new donation and can update the Bench-O-Meter! (By the way, if you'd like to place a Bench-O-Meter and donation button on your site, hit me up for the code in the comments here or using the contact form on the Questions page.)

Along with the donations I'm getting some lovely comments, and I've written to the donors to ask their permission to post them here on the site. I hope to share many of them with you in posts to come. Meanwhile, feel free to leave your own comments here.

Please share this post and the home page with your networks. Let's make sure all Mark's friends have the opportunity to be a part of this project.

Wouldn't it be something if we could raise the full amount by Mark's memorial event on 3/24? Knowing Mark's friends, it wouldn't surprise me a bit.


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