J.D. Norton of Eve's eBay It Forward 

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J.D. Norton, head of eBay’s Salt Lake-area Community Events, helped develop Eve’s “eBay It Forward” to be held at the Gateway Grand Hall (18 N. Rio Grande Street), Dec. 29-31, noon-8 p.m.

What can attendees expect at Eve?
Salt Lake City is changing and becoming vibrant. They will be surprised to see the same energy we had in 2002 with the Winter Olympics. For the first time, the LDS Church, Squatters, and City Weekly are all sponsoring the same event.

How will “eBay It Forward” work?
The goal is to bring the community together and give back to a local charity. People will donate a meaningful possession—one that provided aid, comfort, happiness, etc.—in 2010. They bring it to the Gateway, along with its written story, to be displayed in juxtaposition. As the gifts are compiled, “eBay It Forward” will be a growing, community art exhibit. Beginning Jan. 4, our employees will list the items on eBay Giving Works, with 40-50 more every day afterward. Bidders worldwide will purchase the item along with its story. Funds raised will be donated to Family Promise.

Is this unique to Salt Lake City?
The first event of its kind, anywhere. Salt Lake is the testing ground for a potentially remarkable tradition. After several brainstorming sessions with the Downtown Alliance, the concept was founded in the New Year’s notion: “Out with the old, in with the new.” We want people to give, while remembering the good times.

Give examples of some expected items and stories.
People are keeping it a secret until they donate. I was told that one woman wants to donate a quarter-used bottle of perfume. It might seem different, but I’m sure there’s some story behind it. We ask people to be lighthearted, yet serious. We can’t accept empty booze bottles or pornography, though it might have helped them through the year.

What value does personalization add?
People like that heartwarming feeling when they bid, and subsequently win; it will almost always sell for more.

What item will you donate?
My uncle has recently passed away. When I was 3, he took me to Disneyland, where he bought me a Mickey Mouse toy. I recently found it, and it brought back lots of good memories. I want to pass that feeling on.

Why was the charity Family Promise selected?
They are not well-known but do amazing things for homeless families: keeping them together, providing shelter, and facilitating counseling.

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