Sweet Auburn: The Magazine of the Friends of Mount Auburn President Bill Clendaniel Retires | Page 5

“If there is one image of Bill that comes to my mind, it’s of Rodin’s sculpture, The Thinker, the long lean guy sitting there in ultimate contemplation. Bill is a gifted thinker. The Master Plan for Mount Auburn which has had such a profound positive effect was his brainchild. Bill was born to be President of Mount Auburn, and he hit the ground running. He has taken Mount Auburn and turned it into a national touchstone. He will be a hard act to follow. “In terms of my career, our firm’s work at Mount Auburn is up there with Post Office Square Park, as far having wonderful clients and feeling a real sense of accomplishment. It doesn’t get much better than working at Mount Auburn, and I thank Bill for that. He is one of my real folk heroes.” — Craig Halvorson, of Boston; Landscape Architect “Bill revolutionized Mount Auburn and moved the institution, the landscape, all aspects of its form and functions way beyond the Mount Au- burn I knew when I began doing my research for Silent City on a Hill in 1977. He has again made Mount Auburn a world-class institution.” — Blanche Linden Ph. D., of Fort Lauderdale, FL; author of Silent City on a Hill “Bill took the Cemetery back to its roots as a ce nter of the community.” — Carl Nold President and CEO, Historic New England “Bill is a builder, someone not interested in the status quo. He represents the kind of leader from whom you always learn something. Whenever you encounter Bill, you realize you are in the presence of someone who is very intelligent, magnanimous, knows exactly what his job is, and where he wants to go with it.” — Susan W. Paine, of Cambridge, MA Honorary Trustee, Friends of Mount Auburn “The Master Plan was such a wonderful op- portunity for all of us to really look in depth at Mount Auburn and push the limits of what a plan could do… This was really innovative work; nobody in cemeteries was doing anything like this. And thanks to Bill, there was enough money to do it right and have the time to explore, to go through yet another cycle of ques tions. And it spun off to other cemeteries, other master plans that we’ve all worked on.” — Shary Berg, of Cambridge; Landscape Historian ship. He and Craig Halvorson gathered together a team that included Liz Vizza as project manager and Shary Berg as landscape historian, as well as many additional special- ized experts, Cemetery Trustees, and staff. They all worked for three years. While master plans were nothing new for corporations or universities, writing one for a cemetery most certainly was. Mount Auburn’s was one of the first and the best, becoming “a gold standard,” studied and emulated by cemeteries across the nation. The Master Plan provided a framework, a compass, a spine on which to build the improvements and innovations—including new policies, staffing, interment spaces, and gardens—that were to follow. You’ve Got to Have Friends As part of his plans for expanded community outreach, Bill wanted to enlarge the role of the Friends of Mount Auburn that had been founded in 1986. When Bill arrived in 1988, the Friends was offering programs but not raising funds. The Friends had been born out of the controversy that flared when Mount Auburn tore down the Cemetery’s dilapidated 19th-century cast-iron fence on Mount Auburn Street. The Trustees realized they had no “built-in constitu- ency,” so they created the Friends to provide one. But Bill says “this was a defensive measure rather than a proactive reaching-out to the community.” Bill was convinced the Friends could do more and be more, both in programming and in fundraising. In 1990, he and the Trustees established the Friends as a 501(c)3 charitable trust because they realized that it would be easier for both foundations and individuals to give to this kind of entity instead of directly to the Cemetery itself. “I always characterized it as putting another arrow in our fundraising quiver,” Bill says. He worked with one of the Cemetery’s Trustees, the distinguished non-profit lawyer and scholar Marion Fremont-Smith, to set it up. “Marion felt it was very important, and I agreed, that the majority of the Friends Trustees should also be Cemetery Trustees, ensuring that the work of the Friends would always be in sync with that of the Cemetery.” Mount Auburn was one of the first historic cemeteries to have such an organization. And in the fundraising realm, the Friends “paid off,” and quite soon. “We sent out a solicitation letter to our lot representatives and were convinced we’d get a great return, but the response was disappointing except for one phone call. On the spindle in my office was a pink slip saying that a lot representative wanted to talk about his estate plan.” An- thony and Mildred Ruggiero eventually set up a trust that has now given Mount Auburn over $1,068,000. The Trust’s stipulated future annual gifts are equal to an endowment of several million dollars. This success was followed by others when foundations, government agencies, and individuals began contributing support to the Cemetery. Summer 2008 | 3