2013 Charity Results Released [Update]

Last weekend, Burning Man Arts – the new organization that is a merger between two of the non-profits in BMOrg’s empire, Black Rock Arts Foundation and the Burning Man Project –  threw its Eighth annual Artumnal Gathering event.

I would love to be able to tell you the story of what a great job Burning Man’s non-profit subsidiary is doing in supporting the Arts, how much money it gives to poor artists and how little it keeps for itself.

Sadly, that story would be a fairytale: the evidence paints a different picture.

Today, the IRS Form 990 filing for 2013 for BRAF was released. We’re still waiting on BMP’s information, when it’s available I will write another post.

Their overall efficiency score was 20% – meaning that if you give $1 to the Arts via BRAF, only 20 cents of it will go the Arts. The rest is absorbed into salaries and overheads.

Here is an updated table of their giving for the previous 7 years:

Black Rock Arts Foundation Assets Revenue Expenses Profit Grants Efficiency
2013 $626,574 $508,442 $428,860 $79,582 $101,556 20.0%
2012 $560,917 $621,359 $477,525 $143,834 $114,449 18.4%
2011 $588,129 $735,147 $577,706 $157,441 $219,080 29.8%
2010 $392,205 $478,567 $461,961 $16,606 $169,274 35.4%
2009 $364,588 $405,762 $278,003 $127,759 $80,349 19.8%
2008 $237,910 $439,353 $498,831 -$59,478 $105,906 24.1%
2007 $268,433 $532,346 $352,662 $179,684 $116,790 21.9%
Total $560,917 $3,212,534 $2,646,688 $565,846 $805,848 25.1%
Burning Man Project
2012 $368,249 $591,672 $259,925 $331,747 $36,378 6.1%

The total amount of money the charity raised in 2013 dropped 20% from 2012. They kept their salaries about the same, and reduced the amount that actually gets paid out in grants.


2012: $114,449

2013: $101,566

Gifting dropped by 11.3%.

The grant money was split between Individuals (US and non-US), and Organizations.

Individuals (US): $36,370

Organizations (US): $46,696

Individuals (non-US): $18,500

16 un-named individuals split $36,370; 11 got an average of $1,306 each, and 5 received larger awards, $4,400 average.

The overseas figure is made up of $12,500 to the Czech Republic, split between 2 recipients; and $6,000 to someone in London.

Of the Grants to US Organizations, the breakdown is:

The Exploratorium $10,000

The Box Shop $6,000

Urban Matter, Inc $6,000

Engineered Artworks Ltd $11,100

The $10,000 is a mere drop in the bucket to the Exploratorium, which raised $40 million in 2012 and has $138 million of assets. But it is the second largest grant handed out by BRAF, representing almost 10% of their total grant allocation.

12 works of art were donated to the group, recorded as a non-cash contribution of $50,000 – $4,166 each.

The charity still sits on most of the money given to it. Net Assets increased 15.7%:

Net Assets

2012: $507,753

2013: $587,335

They ended the year with $478,088 in cash – 4.7 times what they gave out to artists.

Almost half of the organization’s revenues went to salaries, which increased slightly:

Salaries (% of revenues)

2012: $209,461 – 33.7%

2013: $211,491 – 41.6%

This was more than double the amount of funds they paid out to the cause they represent.

They were charged $40,000 for accounting costs – a number that seems extraordinarily high, for filling out a 34 page form. More than $1000 per page – and many of the pages are blank. I wonder if the charity was forced to shoulder some of the burden of the complexities related to their “transition to a non-profit” – which included carving out the only real assets of the business, its trademarks and related royalty streams, to Decommodification LLC, a new for-profit company owned by the 6 remaining founders of Burning Man.

Note that the overall “non-profit” group paid a staggering $1.43 million to its accountants and lawyers in 2013, according to their Afterburn report.

BRAF paid $25,154 for rent and office expenses, $1,707 for travel, and $4,303 for insurance.

Like BMP, there are 18 directors of BRAF. Each put in 2 hours per week – except for Freddy Hahne (President) and Tracy Burton (Treasurer), who commit 4 hours each. Of Burning Man’s 6 remaining founders, only Larry, Harley, and Will & Crimson are listed as contributing their time to BRAF.

BRAF’s Artumnal was their only fundraising event during the year.

According to the IRS form, BMP Director Chris Bently’s building charged a whopping $8,345 for the use of the Bently Reserve venue: 8.1% of the money that was raised at the event. Mr Bently inherited the $47 million building and many other assets including a $45 million coin collection and a 50,000 acre cattle ranch.

The 2013 Artumnal Gathering grossed $185,780.

$38,684 was spent on food.

$33,315 was spent on entertainment. Some of the entertainers (listed below) are salaried employees of BMOrg.

$102,936 went to BRAF as contributions. For any sponsors wondering how much of their Artumnal ticket or table donation is tax-deductible, it appears to be 55% – but don’t take my word for it, I’m not an accountant. You should seek independent, professional advice, rather than telling the IRS “Burners.Me is my financial advisor”.

Since $101,566 was the amount actually gifted by the Black Rock Arts Foundation over the course of the entire year, basically the Artumnal raises all the money that goes to the artists.

You can see the IRS Form 990 for the Black Rock Arts Foundation here. Hopefully when they release the 2013 Form 990 for the Burning Man Project, it will tell a much better story, one of generously passing donations given to them on to the artists.

[Update 11/25/14 10:12am] Burn After Reading magazine brings us a report from the event, which (ironically) was shut down by a fire alarm.

[Update 12/14/8:15pm] See All We Want For Chri$tma$ Is Your Money for links to further analysis we’ve done on the charitable performance of “we call the whole thing Burning Man”.

From blackrockarts.org:


Art and Installations

Flowers and Decor

  • Christina Pettigrew
  • Julz (Hookahdome)
  • Marcia Crosby
  • $teven Ra$pa


image: Eleanor Preger, Facebook

image: Eleanor Preger, Facebook

54 comments on “2013 Charity Results Released [Update]

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  3. Since I happen to be a professional fundraiser, this is right up my alley.

    You are absolutely right that an eighty cent cost to raise a dollar is dismal (Cost to raise a dollar is how those in fundraising look at the same statistic). If I had that cost to raise a dollar, I would be fired. The problem here is, you are not talking about a mature program. You are talking about a program just getting off the ground. The way all fundraising organizations lower their cost of raising a dollar is by increasing the amount of money they bring in, not lowering their expenses. You have to have a robust infrastructure to raise money. You need IT folks to handle the databases. You need front line fundraisers engaging prospects. You need accountants to handle estate and stock gifts. You need gift processors keeping track of money coming in and handle tax receipting. You need travel expenses because you don’t ask someone for a million dollars over the phone. These are set expenses. If you don’t spend the money your efforts will fail. However, as your efforts mature, your expenses don’t go up that much. You benefit from economies of scale. Most major gifts, say $25,000 and above, require at least two years of cultivation before the gift is realized. So naturally the cost to raise a dollar during the first year the organization exists is going to look horrible. If you amortize that cost over the years the organization will exist, you will see it as a reasonable investment in a start-up. This is universally how fundraising works.

    When I first started the fundraising organization I’m in charge of, I think our cost to raise a dollar was between eighty to ninety cents, now I believe it’s eighteen cents. This is why I have a problem with your mining for negative things to say about the org. You don’t always know what you are talking about and you don’t seem to be looking for the other side of the story. You find a statistic that looks bad and publish it without any context or balanced reporting. This is what happened with the Rolling Stone Virginia State situation. The reporter got a good story that supported the point she was trying to make, so neither she nor the magazine bothered to check to see if the story was true or if there was another side. This is why I feel your agenda is to tear things down, not shed light. If you wanted to shed light, you would put the information in context.

    • The article you are discussing here is about Black Rock Arts Foundation, which has been going since 2001.

      You are placing this information OUT of context, and claiming that you’re an expert and therefore I’m wrong. However, it is you who is wrong.

      Let’s leave aside that this is about BRAF, and focus on BMP – which is what I think you mean to talk about.

      This is not a brand new organization, it has been going for nearly 30 years. They already have IT folks and accountants, offices and travel budgets and salesforce.com

      They have now filed 2 years’ worth of IRS 990 forms, going back to 2012.

      Whichever way you cut it, they give more to their accountants than they do to their artists.

      The overhead is massive, and is ON TOP of existing overhead expenses in these categories that the $34 million/yr business has been paying.

      I go to great lengths to put the information I’m presenting in context, linking it to sources and previous discussions. Comparing me to Rolling Stone’s recent scandal is a cheap shot, given how much effort I spend on accuracy and truth. The falsehoods and misinformation related to Burning Man all come from a certain organization that openly employs a Minister of Propaganda. This site is the only one trying to actually get at the truth.

        • BRAF was incorporated as a 501(c)3 in 2001 http://blackrockarts.org/about

          The numbers I have presented here all come from BRAF’s IRS Form 990 filings. They are for the years 2007-1013, after they had been established and fundraising independently for 6 years already. As you can see, they average 75c out of every $1 given to them being spent on overhead.

          The performance for the Burning Man Project is much worse. In 2013 they managed to spend *MORE* than 99 cents out of every dollar on overhead.

          You said that this sort of performance would get you fired from your job – do you retract that comment now? Or do you agree with me that their performance is abysmal?

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  9. This percentage of income to grants doesn’t look so good… I went to their website ( http://blackrockarts.org/about ) and saw this:

    “The mission of the Black Rock Arts Foundation is to support and promote community, interactive art and civic participation.”

    If you notice, it doesn’t say their mission is to give out grants, but to “support and promote community, interactive art and civic participation.”

    Perhaps there is a fair amount they do that involves internal labor that would explain their expenses. Given these factors, the income to grant ratio isn’t an accurate scale to gauge their efficiency. Looking at their list of projects shows they’re pretty well on the mark of what their mission states. A lot of great stuff really…


    • Whatever their mission is, they’re hoarding cash.

      Burning Man Project scored 5%. We only have the 2012 numbers for them, so maybe 2013 will be better.

      From 2014, there’s no more BRAF – it’s all part of BMP now. We might have to wait until 2016 to see those accounts.

      • Why do say they are hoarding cash when their list of projects is full of things that they claim to do?

        As to the Burning Man Project (BMP), from their website:


        “The mission of the Burning Man organization is to facilitate and extend the culture that has issued from the Burning Man event into a larger world. This culture forms an integrated pattern of values, experience, and behavior: a coherent and widely applicable way of life. The survival and elaboration of this culture depend upon a cultivated capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations.”

        Again note, they do note claim to be grant organization, why judge them on something that they don’t claim to be?

        • Interesting observations, Dan. While about 20% of revenues goes to art grants, about another 20% goes to expenses, after the 40% that goes to salaries. Two questions strike me:

          1. How much of those 20% expenses went to non-grant installation hard costs, and how much went to soft cost overhead such as lawyers?

          2. What sort of contracts did they do with the non-grant artists? Were they as onerous as those we have seen for the playa artists?

          Would also be interesting to see some formal reports on these installations and other outreach they do, with financial accounting.

        • Would also be interesting to see if they are carrying any defered liabilities against those Assets listed, like accured but unpaid or unspecified liabilities to BRC LLC or Decommodfication LLC.

        • Read the post, Dan. It’s all right there.

          “They ended the year with $478,088 in cash – 4.7 times what they gave out to artists.”

          If you can’t understand it from my words, click the links to the IRS Form and look at the numbers for yourself. Basically, if you want to support Burning Man artists, donate the money to the artists directly, not the Burning Man Project. BRAF scored 20% in 2013; BMP only scored 5% in 2012 (and ended the year with $360,836 cash in its bank account).

          You think we shouldn’t judge them, because they never intended for these to be charities giving grants to artists? It looks more like they are using a complex web of non-profit and for-profit companies to reduce their own tax bills, as their priority over providing funding to art projects. They make the artists raise most of the money for these projects themselves, and send them threatening legal letters if they use images of their past work at Burning Man in their fundraising. You think that’s praise-worthy?

          Why shouldn’t they give most of the cash that gets donated to them to the artists who need it, instead of just piling it up in their bank accounts? What good is it going to do for the culture there? Why do they make BRAF pay $40,000 for accounting? Why do they make them pay rent?

          I’ve summarized the 4 years of activities of the Burning Man Project in this post: http://burners.me/2014/07/10/the-art-of-giving/

          You can also read about the way BMOrg treat artists in this post: http://burners.me/2014/11/16/art-versus-money/

          You find it impressive, I guess; I don’t. I think they could do a lot more to support the arts than talking about themselves in panel discussions, and claiming credit for the work done by other REAL charities.

  10. Let’s get on thing clear. I’m not defending BMO, I never did, I can’t really speak to that. Nor am I defending Chip Connely. I’m standing up for the people who do put their heart into trying help and preserve te culture of burning man. So you are using the invitation/artwork/theme from this year but trying to interpret last year’s spreadsheet. I wouldn’t expect you to know this if you’ve never had the displeasure of organizing a large scale public event. Not every cost related to an event venue or facility is the basic hard cost of renting it and they don’t have their own line items. For example, even if the venue is gifted the organization still has the responsibility of furnishing event insurance which can be very costly, like “a whopping $8,000”, other “facilities expenses” rentals- tables, chairs, linens etc., security. All lumped under facilities.

    What I’m trying to say is you cannot always accurately interpret an event through a spreadsheet and most certainly not if you have never created one for an event. You’re assuming A LOT.

    Just to clarify as well, because I think you’re painting an inaccurate picture. The salaries mentioned that weren’t lowered do not apply to the board of directors (including Chris Bently). Those positions are UNPAYED. The BOD give their time and resources freely without pay. The paid staff is made up of the Executive Director which is a necessary position, a lot of artists actually – photographers, web designers, people who work all year cutting through red tape, getting permitting, organizing volunteers, ticketing, and on and on. I know it SEEMS like a spontaneous happening but in truth it takes a team of people all year behind the scenes doing the boring shit that none of us would want to deal with to make it happen. And it’s a thankless job.

    Furthermore many on this sight (and certainly the author) seem to have a serious chip on their shoulder about anyone who has money.
    You would never make assumptions on someone’s character based on the fact that they weren’t born with it, so why would you if they were? Someone is innately the enemy because he had an inheritance???? How ignorant is that? Don’t make a practice of pretending to know people through what they have. It’s ugly.

    I don’t know how much money Chris’s foundation has given to the arts since it was only funded in 2014 as you can see by the news article you sighted and assumably read. I do know previous to his inheritance he personally gave funding to many art projects that you’ve enjoyed on the playa – temples – the rusty heart – bliss dance – the rocket ship – sound camps. All of these things require money to build and money to get there. Are you really going to discourage someone generously giving to artists to make the things that are part of your experience on playa?

    You should hear yourselves “douches” “our parties” “your parties” ……… And on. You sound like a bunch of schoolyard brats fighting over a playground instead of the ENLIGHTENED CULTURE BUILT ON ACCEPTANCE AND GIVING that you are supposed to be representing. RADICAL INCLUSION, heard of it? Have you all forgotten that? That society and its ideals are NOT MEANT TO STAY ON PLAYA. It’s supposed to go home with you, become part of your everyday life and outlook to ultimately change the world for the BETTER. At this point you are no better than the “exclusive elite” plug n play camps that are destroying the burning man ideal.

    Often quoted and true –

    “SMALL people talk about other PEOPLE.

    AVERAGE people talk about THINGS.

    GREAT people talk about IDEAS. ”

    Try that. Just give the idea thing a try. Instead of being the guy at the party, while everyone else is sharing in ideas, funders meeting artists who are building incredible things, excitement and passion for life and art is shared, dreams are being made reality- you are the guy sitting on a bench in the corner on his laptop looking for the negative in all of this. Instead of that be the guy CREATING, positive and contributing to the world. Just try it out.

    One last thought-
    There are HUNDREDS of people who give hours, days, weeks, months and so many resources (not just monetary) to make the magic that is burning man happen. Volunteers show up weeks ahead of time and build art installations, temples, the MAN, they work med-tents and clean up moop for weeks after. So many people come together and give to make it a reality. THNK YOU TO THOSE PEOPLE!!!
    Then there are the people who show up for a week and go home and bitch about everyone else the rest of the year.

    Unplug yourself from the constant stream of negative feed. Live. That’s what I plan on doing.

    • I presume you’re talking about BMP Director Chip Conley – WTF does he have to do with this post? You’re all over the place. How about addressing my responses to your last comment, you know, the one where you accused me of taking no care to present the truth, and I showed you all the evidence that supports my claims? Did you even look at my reply?

      I’m assuming that the line item “Rent/Facility Costs” under “Artumnal” refers to use of the Bently Reserve. First you assumed I was lying, and now you’re assuming it has nothing to do with Rent/Facility Costs. I provided evidence, where’s yours?

      The idea that insurance for a one-off event in a dedicated commercial facility for a few hundred people costs $8,345 is laughable; so is your idea that a team of people work year-round to organize this event. Again, where’s your evidence? Have YOU ever thrown an event? The Bently Reserve Conference Center hosts many events, how much red tape do you really think there is? This isn’t Oracle World.

      The salaries are for the Black Rock Arts Foundation, year round. The 18 Directors volunteered their time: it’s in my article already. Chris Bently is a director of BMP, but is not listed as a director of BRAF in the IRS form. It’s you who is painting an inaccurate picture here.

      The idea that I have some beef against people with money is ridiculous, as is the idea that I am treating Mr Bently as an “enemy”. Clearly you don’t read this site at all, and have come here just to hurl abuse. This is called TROLLING.

      The position of Burners.Me is that Commodification Camps are the problem, there have always been rich people at Burning Man and hopefully always will, who cares how they camp: what we care about is what they contribute. Burning Man is about sharing, giving, participating. We’re all Burners together on the Playa. We want more Burners, not safari tourists, not people trying to commercialize the Playa and make money from the spectacle that we all give freely – while giving nothing back themselves, and excluding Burners from all the cool stuff they pay sherpas to set up.

      I am not discouraging Mr Bently from giving to the Arts – I hope he comps the venue, pays for whatever “other” Facility/Rent charges are passed onto BRAF as a result, and gives much more than that to Burning Man. I hope his Art Car is used as a public conveyance, and he gives rides to any Burner who wants to go on it – like the rest of us have to.

      Is this actually the same person writing both comments as LadyJayne? Because you are insulting us for the things that *you’re* the one doing with your words here.

      The IDEA we are talking about is that BMOrg should stay true to its Principles. Gifting is good; charging a charity you profess to support rent for use of your venue is not good. Hoarding cash donated in good faith by Burners wanting to support the arts, and only passing 20 cents out of every dollar on to the artists they claim to support is not good. Scalping tickets to Commodification Camps while telling Burners that the event is sold out and they’re not allowed to sell tickets above face value is bad. Very bad.

      I give my time and my art FOR FREE to the idea of Burning Man every single day. Thousands of hours. I love Burning Man, and almost never say anything negative about the event. Please read our FAQ. If what I write is critical of BMOrg, you should blame those who make the decisions and take the actions that I’m writing about. If they answered the community’s questions, instead of attacking the messenger all over the Interwebz, I might have more positive things I could write about. If they acted like good people, I could write good stories.

      Instead, their response so far has been to laugh at Burners, calling us all chumps and suckers and rubes.

      Get this through your head, LadyJayne – if you really are a Lady – Burning Man is made by Burners. Not BMOrg. You and the rest of your team can insult me all you want, but you’re not fooling anyone, and many Burners are now waking up to these games.

      • Keep in mind that envy is part of the NPD magical thinking: they imagine others envy them. So this personalization and “envy of the rich” argument is part and parcel of the NPD mindset. If LadyJane does not have NPD, she is one of the abused, resonating the NPD acting out. For fear of punishment, the abused will echo and enable the NPD abuser’s agenda.

    • In another thread, ABP posted:

      Of what manner are Commodification Camps within the mission statement, within the bylaws of the Project?

      ‘The mission of the Burning Man Project is to facilitate and extend the culture that has issued from the Burning Man event into a larger world. In order to do this, the Burning Man Project will uphold and manifest the values described in the Ten Principles of Burning Man, specifically: Radical Inclusion, Gifting, Decommodification, Radical self-reliance, Radical Self-expression, Communal Effort, Civic Responsibility, Leaving No Trace, Participation, and Immediacy, as fully set out in exhibit A attached and incorporated by reference. Burning Man Project shall provide the philosophical and educational tools, curriculum, and organizational structure that will allow the people to apply the Ten Principles in many communities and spheres of endeavor. These Ten Principles are integral to one another, nothing short of all of them combined will really do. The principled means to that serve our mission shall always be inherent in our goals and projects. “Burning Man” shall be understood as referring to a way of life lived consistently with these Ten Principles. “Community” as referred to in these principles applies to any human community.’

      We are talking IDEAS here. The Tin Principles are more than a nice idea, or a slogan. This is in Article 1 of the BMP bylaws. You and the BOrg might think this is some nifty PR, but the bylaws of a corporation are literally legally binding. Having a laugh about how Article 1 has been used to fool the burners into making the NV burn happen at their own expense, and ignoring Article 1 of the bylaws can lead to lawsuits and loss of the BMP corporate status.

      Magical thinking has its limits, and that certainly happens when you reach the law.

  11. You might want to read this comment quickly……. Or take a screen shot of it, I doubt it will last long. Time and again this sight is PROOF that a story doesn’t have to be TRUTHFUL in order to call it “NEWS”. If you are looking for reliable journalism you might as well be reading the National Enquirer and Chris Bently might as well be Batboy. There is absolutely no care taken to fact check or present truth. This article is nothing more than gossip written by someone who doesn’t get invited to parties but sits at his computer ranting about them.
    For all ten people who read this bullshit here are just a few of the FACTS.
    1. The Reserve building wasn’t inherited. It was purchased by Chris as a business investment in 2005 and a costly renovation took place. Chris’s father didn’t die until 2012. FACT

    2. The 40+ million dollar coin collection inherited by Chris was auctioned off and the ENTIRE proceeds went to a NON-PROFIT foundation which supports the ARTS. He didn’t keep ANY of that for himself. FACT

    3. He accepted exactly $0 for the event rental for Artumnal. That’s right folks, none, nada, nothing. No idea where the $8,000+ figure came from, it is a 100% DONATION. (Yes, also known as gifting) FACT

    So, for the authors information THAT are what FACTS look like. And since you want to rave about the GIFTING society……. Maybe you’d like to gift us all the TRUTH for once. Or better yet gift us keeping your ignorance to yourself. Get out from behind your computer and live life on a human level. It will do wonders for your outlook on life.

    • Time and again, this site has proved that defenders of BMOrg will come and accuse us of all kinds of misinformation, without any credible basis in truth. We always provide references to our claims, as anyone can see by clicking the links in the story. Our attackers never provide any references to back up their slanderous allegations.

      Since you seem to be upset, and have difficulty following the links to the sources of our information, let me try to make it simple for you:

      1. I’m writing this story in 2014, about an event in 2013. The old Federal Reserve building was purchased by “the investment arm of a wealthy Nevada family” in 2005. FACT. Here is a link to the source of that information: http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2005/04/18/daily30.html

      2. The coin collection was inherited. FACT. I never made any claims about what Mr Bently did with the proceeds from auctioning it off. Here is a link to the source of that information: http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/print-edition/2014/10/31/giving-guide-bently-cashes-in-coins-for-foundation.html?page=all

      3. The $8,345 figure came from the IRS Form 990 filed by the Black Rock Arts Foundation. FACT. Note that I am referring to 2013, not 2014 (which just happened this weekend, and has not yet been disclosed to the IRS).

      Here is a link to the source of that information:

      As you can see, despite your histrionics, I took time and care to research every figure I am presenting, and provide links to my sources. Just like I am taking time now to address your comment, responding with VERIFIED FACTS.

      Here is a screenshot of the relevant page from BRAF’s IRS Form 990 filing. Note Item 6, Rent/Facility Costs. Are you saying that BMOrg has provided false information to the IRS?

      IRS Form 990, 2013

      There is a section in the form for “Non-Cash Contributions”, however the Real Estate-related line items are blank.

      Here is a screenshot of the relevant page from BRAF’s IRS Form 990 filing, referring to “Non-Cash Contributions”.

      Non-Cash Contributions IRS Form 990 20134 BRAF

      If the rental of the Bently Reserve is included in “Other” in Schedule M, then why is it also listed as a separate “Direct Expenses” line item under “Event # 1 Artumnal”, Schedule G Part II? If what you were saying was true, it would be a contribution, not an expense.

      Could you please explain where *your* FACTS are coming from? You accuse me of lying, but provide no evidence; indeed, you are just repeating information from my story. You could have seen these references for yourself, by clicking the links highlighted in blue.

      Can you please let us know how much of the money that Mr Bently raised for the Arts by auctioning off the coin collection he inherited, was donated to Burning Man Arts? That is something I have no information about, and therefore have made no claims about. I’m sure our readers would like to know.

      If indeed Mr Bently purchased the building himself – through a fortune he created independently of his family, rather than as “son of self-made billionaire industrialist Don Bently” as the SF Business Times story said – I can’t see what difference it makes, or why you are so upset about it. If you have some sort of inside knowledge, then please explain what the $8,345 Rent/Facility charge is for – given your unsubstantiated claim that he GIFTS the venue for free to Burning Man Arts.

    • @LadyJayne
      >written by someone who doesn’t get invited to parties

      These douchebags actually think they throw parties that burners are envious of. Look, honey, we’re trying to kick you out of OUR party, not get invited to one of the douche events you call ‘parties’. Damn, the delusional mindset of this self-important queen is amazing.

      • Envy of others, or imagining they envy you in the same way, is classic NPD. LadyJane either has NPD, or is passing along rhetoric from the BOrg NPD team. These are not things normal people imagine, but it does reflect on what is important in the magical world of the BOrg.

      • The amusing thing about this aspect of her allegations is that the Artumnal is a public event. Anyone can go, you just buy a ticket from their web site. I bought a table there in 2012. It *was* full of douchebags, with an inflated sense of self-importance. Not the Burner crowd I know and love. I wouldn’t invite most of them to any of my parties. The entertainment is a dIfferent story…

        • What’s also funny is that I’m 100% certain she won’t follow up. She’s like my Tea Party uncle who drops his unsubstantiated “truth bombs” in an email to the family, and then NEVER responds to my well-cited counter-arguments. Emotion-based certainty is AWESOME!!

          • There is some gratification that they think this media venue is important enough to make a comment. And what is as interesting is that it is very likely that they think she did a “good job in showing up the falsehoods” here, maybe getting a bonus or promotion, or at least BOrg points, completely ignoring the far more thorough counter-responses in the replies.

    • I find it interesting that you would think your dissenting post would be deleted. To my knowledge, that has not only never happened here, but contrasting comments are welcome to expand on the information presented.

      LadyJane, perhaps you are used to another moderation environment, where only supporting comments are tolerated – perhaps like a corporate email environment. Projecting that attitude here either shows you don’t come here much – perhaps you are here on assignment, or you are too used to an environment where only the official line is tolerated. (Or perhaps your whole comment was dictated to you?)

        • Yes, but the interesting question is if this comes from her, or if she has culturally inherited the persecution complex from the BOrg or the BOrg faithful. I need to encourage Vaknin to do more with corporate NPD. In many ways it is the fundamental root of all the major problems in the world. Of course 100% of the corporation cannot have NPD, but NPD affect seems to be a learned behavior for the corporate culture. And we also know that sociopaths have a higher incidence in corporate management than in the general population. Those same studies also show that they are also less effective managers. SO as we see here, the NPD/sociopaths rise to the top at the BOrg while also being incompetent in their efforts. But the NPD culture protects them.

          As the Titanic sinks, the NPD crew are telling each other the rumors of the ship taking on water are total fabrication. Like the many that have left the BOrg BoD, the healthy ones are already in the lifeboats.

          • I’m enjoying your comments, Nomad, but man, you’re really sticking with that NPD thing. 🙂 It is interesting, though.

          • For most of us, the byzantine BOrg actions are bizarre, and our reaction is that we must not know something that makes those actions logical. We always presume others have fundamental logic in their actions. Applying the NPD thing to the BOrg actions was a breakthrough for me. Not only do their odd actions make sense as acting out NPD, but you can predict their future actions. It lets you stop wasting time trying to understand their logic, and understand that “logical” and “fact-based” arguments are entirely irrelevant. It also completely explains that they don’t like to make any positive statements, and that most of what they say is contradictory,

            Most of us have a fundamental concept that we try to express in communications. Failings in expressing that effectively are things we strive to minimize. But for the NPD BOrg, all is said for effect, with no consistent fundamental concept. Well, there is a fundamental concept, but it is their securing their NPD supplies.

            Those of us that are healthy and effective don’t understand the NPD mindset, because it is not effective in achieving goals; it is something that we reject. We have to learn that, just as some might believe 2 + 2 = 3, there are those with NPD, and we have to understand their actions and motivations that are otherwise entirely foreign to us. Recognizing NPD is an important skill to keep from wasting time.

          • It seems to be not just an affliction amongst the upper levels of BMOrg, but also a technique/control tool used to create the pyramid structure that runs their volunteer army. Thus, the NDA is required, propaganda and misinformation is par for the course, and people fear for their lives if they speak out against them. These things make little sense logically, but much more sense from the NPD perspective.

    • Oh please. The Bentley reserve was purchased with money inherited from daddy so that Chris can masquerade as an “artist” in his fake SF lifestyle. The entire ORG is so far-up the rich kids collective behinds, that it has lost all credibility with anyone that ever viewed BM as counter-cultural. There is nothing more mainstream than the Bentley reserve and massive $ Million dollar parties for rich fat cats to patronize the arts. This could be a “Spring Gala” for the Met or the Kennedy Center or any other rich socialite aspirational event. But instead of East Coast hedge fund mangers and trust fund socialites attending, we have west-coast hedge fund managers and trust fund socialites attending.

      The only difference is that the people that go to Artumnal like to pretend they are different. They are not.

    • LadyJayne, Please converse with your PR people prior to a comment such as this. An honourable PR person would respond such as this, might it be true-

      Chris Bently deserves our gratitude, while he needed to charge $8,345 for the rental of the Bently Reserve building, he, personally, donated that amount of cash in refund, and much more, towards the BRAF. As the article, ‘Bently cashes in coins for foundation’ linked within your post states, he donated his $45 million coin collection to his non profit, purposed towards the arts. He is fighting, on the BMP board of directors, to obtain a fair contract for the playa artists, and for ALL their costs to be covered by the BRC LLC and the Project, this is a matter of fairness, and respect, towards the artists, whom sacrifice much.

      We realize the efficiency of the BRAF, of obtaining cash for the artists, was too small, and the amounts of the grants were laughable. Many good people gave their best efforts, and we believe the efficiency, of assisting the artists towards obtaining ALL cash needed to pay for their costs, a very healthy payment for their labours, and placement for their art will improve in a dramatic manner. As a sign of good faith, here are the prior salaries and payments towards the BRAF officers, including Larry and Crimson. Our purpose is for the artists being very happy in regards of our assistance to them, we realize it is the artists whom matter, it is not us, thus we are changing to an enthusiastic customer service mindset towards the artists, thus the artists will obtain all credit for their art, and the revenue stream of the licence upon the photos of their art, not us or Decommodification LLC, both on the playa, and in the outside world.

        • Wishful thinking, but the rules of maintaining NPD supplies say No.

          RIGHTS AND RESPECT. Presently, the artists – the true stars of the burn experience – have to surrender all their rights to the BOrg. This subservience and surrender of control to the BOrg is a major NPD supply that they would strongly resist giving up. Any overt expression of respect for the artists would be very painful and damaging to the BOrg magical thinking that they are the creators of the art, not the artists.

          MONEY AND VALIDATION. Presently, the BOrg keeps most of the money. Giving up any more of their money to the benefit of the artists would validate the artists and might even suggest that the artists are equal, or even – gods forbid – superior to the BOrg. The artists live at the largess of the BOrg, NOT vice-versa.

          DONATION VS. CONTROL. Presently, Bently’s dependence on the BOrg is quite literally bought and paid for. Having him instead donate the event venue certainly has mitigating value as an NPD supply in and of itself, though it does test the insecurity of the BOrg. They would be less secure in his allegiance and the ongoing use of the event venue, if control – the donation – was HIS decision, instead of THEIR decision to pay him as control.

          As can be seen, the current situation is there for a reason. You are just dreaming to take away any of these NPD supplies.

          • Seriously, can you come up with a more plausible explanation for these outrageous BOrg willful acts:

            1. All rights to the artists work in connection to the burn belong to the BOrg, and owning the art itself reverts to the BOrg at the death of the artist.

            2. The BOrg keeps over 80% of the art donations, with less than 20% going to the actual art.

            3. The BOrg pays for a venue to host a fundraiser, when there are so many billionaires in SV that could provide same as a donation.

        • Yes, the statement, by Thomas McCabe, director of the BRAF, ‘noting that BRAF also helps with fundraising and other tasks needed to support these local art collectives. “We like to see the artists get paid for their work, we’re funny like that.” ‘ is awesome, and he succeeded in assisting the awesome artists towards placing their art, in a temporary manner, in SF. emphasis added

          Despite of they have not succeeded in ‘seeing the artists get paid for their work’, with the Flaming Lotus Girls SOMA project upon Pier 14 project needing to raise, by Kickstarter, $17,000, and the small amounts of the grants by the BRAF, the statement, by Mr McCabe, is awesome. Might he, at present, be in control of Burning Man Arts? The problems are above him, with the BMOrg taking an estimated $35 to $47 million towards their pockets, it would be easy peasy, of the BMOrg, to ‘see the artists get paid for their work’, might they not direct big amounts of cash towards their pockets.

          Might any view this comment, please donate to the Kickstarter for Embrace, they are making attempts towards raising $40,000 of cash, purposed towards paying their debts, from their awesome art on the playa. Their next project is to place an Embrace in Reno, please support their efforts, all should be positive towards their prior awesome art, the Pier I, the Pier II and Spanish Galleon, and Embrace, and, assist them in their future efforts, and support them in whatever manner they might desire.

          • The costs of Embrace were solely $4 of each $380 or $650 ticket, but, the BMOrg paid solely $1.50, of each ticket, towards Embrace, thus, the Pier Group needed to raise near $150,000 of cash, in despite of Embrace being the big art upon the playa within 2014.

            In addendum, might the BMOrg have donated $100,000, solely $1.50 of each ticket, towards the BRAF, and the BRAF directed the cash towards the artists, the amount of cash paid towards the artists would be two times the amount of cash they were paid for their costs.

          • Imagine what the NV burn would have been by now if they had taken all those added revenues over the past 10 years and put it into art grants instead of overhead and cash-outs for the BoD. That is an alternative universe that would be cool to live in.

  12. Chris Bentley, Chip Conley, doesn’t matter, all the same. They look at something like Burning Man as a way to gain social status and as a potential for monetization. I’d say that’s why they’re wealthy, but that only applies to Conley. Bentley inherited his wealth, so you know, dude earned it. For him not to GIFT (yeah, remember gifting?) the rent for the night is fucking disgusting.

    Larry & Co. have gotten themselves cozy with people who have zero interest in community beyond their own, and are very adept at wringing the smallest commercial potential out of any situation. Those kinds of people are needed, but not in leadership position of fucking Burning Man.

  13. In contrast, my charity is Pump Aid – their pumps sanitize wells in Africa. Their total overhead is 5% – 5 cents on the dollar. I wouldn’t give a dime to any charity that is over 10%. BMorg is at 80%, FFS.

  14. You cite a lot of facts and numbers, but you don’t count all their outreach and spreading of the Burning Man spirit… whatever the hell that is.

  15. A non-profit director charged for the rental of the venue he owned? BARF. I’m sure there are technicalities which make this legal, but Jesus, dude, maybe you should think about chalking the rental costs up as a donation.

    If I can derail/change subjects, some of the regional stuff has been updated on the new website. The Letter of Understanding for prospective RCs is now between them and “Burning Man Project (d.b.a. “Burning Man”)” (previously it was “Black Rock City LLC (d.b.a. “Burning Man”)”, although that appears to be the only change made (the letter still makes reference to “Burning Man” trademarks and intellectual property, now mostly owned by Decommodification LLC).

    Also, there’s is now a meta-regional committee of 13 people, 12 of whom are currently appointed directly by BMORG, although 3 more of these will eventually be selected the community. That really doesn’t look good. The way they’ve drawn up the meta-regions doesn’t make a lot of sense, given existing regional connections. I’ve never heard of the guy representing my meta-region (there’s a lot more crossover regional attendance between my state and states in two other meta-regions than in the state where my meta-regional representative is located). The mid-South region is represented by somebody from AZ, which is not part of the region as defined by BMORG; mid-South includes Texas, home to the longest running (and for many years, the largest) regional. Division between Northeast and Southeast doesn’t make much sense either. Playa del Fuego in Delaware is the largest regional on the East Coast north of North Carolina, but DE, NY, NJ, PA are Northeast meta-region, while VA and MD are Southeast. People from all these states attend PDF.

    • That sounds pretty bizarre. I was in Maryland and Virginia earlier this year, they’re much closer to Delaware than New York. Thanks for the tip-off, I’ll check it out.

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