Last Christmas, in a story All We Want for Chri$tma$ is Your Money, we covered BMOrg’s poor timing in putting their hand out asking Burners to cough up more to fund their global gabfest. It’s a busy and expensive time of year, and in my opinion (and, it seems, many other irate Burners) a less than ideal time for BMOrg to be saying “it costs a lot of money for us to do Burning Man, we know tickets are expensive and you bring all the food and booze and entertainment, and fund all the art except for 2.8% of our revenues…but we need donations too”.
Their recently published Annual Report shows that they take in about $32 million and spend about $30 million, leaving an additional $2 million cash in the coffers. Of the remaining $2 million, they spend about $900k on art and other civic projects.
But don’t worry about how they spend their money. That’s theirs now. This is about your money. See, BMOrg needs it more than you do.
Since we got to Christmas without any post asking for money on their web site, I thought maybe they’d learned their lesson. Well, it seems they did – sort of. They learned that asking too publicly could lead to bad publicity. This year the canvassing campaign has been done on the quiet, with nary a mention in the Jackedrabbit or the BJ. Instead, they used direct snail mail and e-mails to a select group of potential donors (I wasn’t on the list, strange since I have given them many thousands over the years). And then they threw a Halcyon post about gifting out to satisfy the baying hounds on social media, that seemed to shut the Burners up before.
See, Christmas is about GIFTING, and Giving is how Gifting becomes Transformative. Give your money to someone else, so they can give it to someone else (after they extract X% for administrative costs). Send Halcyon $5 if you agree.
Burners who would like to support BMOrg’s cash scooping effort can donate to the Burning Man Project here. Or, do some real good and help homeless veterans freezing in this winter cold snap by donating to Operation Dignity in Oakland. They’re doing outreach every night and served 146,000 meals last year.
Thanks to Anonymous Burner for sending this in. Who else got one?
From: “Marian Goodell” <email@example.com>Subject: A culture of givingDate: December 17, 2015
To: BURNERS.ME SOURCEReply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
“This is Burning Man: A classroom for creativity and collaboration. A kaleidoscope of experiences and emotions. The pulse of a community of doers and seekers. At times playful, introspective and challenging – always engaging.”
Dear BURNERS.ME SOURCE,
What does Burning Man mean to you? Every Burner has a wildly unique response to that question and I always enjoy hearing your stories. Amidst the radical self-expression of our experiences, we still share a common world where creativity is the universal bond, openness is the expectation, and giving is abundant. This, the power of our engagement with BurningMan, is what we are striving to achieve in our home communities and around the world.
Because of you, Burning Man initiatives and endeavors are thriving. Here is a sampling of what we accomplished in the past year as a result of your support. Together, we:
- Set the stage for awe-inspiring, surprising, revelatory, insightful on-playa art installations by funding 121 projects, totaling $1.2 million – up 66% from 106 projects in 2014.
- Engaged more than 75,000 people in Burning Man off-playa supported actions as far away as Derry/Londonderry, Ireland, the Czech Republic and the Philippines, as well as close to home in cities throughout the U.S.
- Issued grants to 18 global art projects, ensuring they were successful, accessible to the public, and civic in scope, while prompting the viewer to act for positive social benefit. David Best’s temple in Derry/Londonderry, for example, brought together a community divided by historic enmity. Participants engaged in joint creative action that offered a pathway to share common grief and move toward a more positive future.
- Organized two Global Leadership Summits in San Francisco and Amsterdam, and supported regional leadership gatherings in the southeastern United States and Taiwan. Over 600 people from 35 countries participated in workshops, peer-to-peer knowledge exchange and experiential activities to learn about creating community.
There is so much more we can do together. Our still-new nonprofit is poised to take the next step, creating year-round programs that reach well beyond the playa. Your donations go a long way toward stabilizing and strengthening existing programs, many of which rely solely on private philanthropic support.
We invite you to join us in this conversation about giving. And, we invite you to participate—by learning more about the Burning Man project, by volunteering, and by giving a donation in support of these inspiring off-playa programs.
What’s next? Establishing a Residency and Fellowship program to recognize and assist early-stage career leaders taking innovative approaches to building community. Energizing Burners Without Borders to make an even more impactful difference to communities in crisis. Expanding activities bringing youth and artists together, underscoring the value of the arts to learning advancement in STE(a)M curricula – science, technology, engineering, arts, and math.
Please show your support for our new direction by making a personally meaningful gift before year-end online at www.donate.burningman.org/2015. No gift is too large or too small. Every act of giving counts and we are all grateful for your participation.
Chief Engagement Officer
The artwork featured, Dream, is by Jeff Schomberg and Laura Kimpton. It was installed in Arlington, TX this year.
This letter says that they funded 106 on Playa art projects in 2014 – but their annual report says 80 in the arts section. What happened to these mysterious other 26 projects? It can’t be the Regionals, because in 2014 instead of C.O.R.E. burning art projects their members did volunteer shifts working in the souk, handing out timeshare real estate brochures and so on.
An earlier slide from Crimson Rose’s presentation to the 2015 Global Leadership Conference said they funded 60 on-playa projects in 2014 (not 106), and 78 in 2015 (not 121). But hey, who’s counting?
It’s interesting that the projects mentioned in this letter were also talked about in the annual report – which, although it was published just in time for this 2015 Christmas fundraising drive, refers to the 2014 year. What was done by the Burning Man Project in 2015 remains a bit of a mystery. OK, they had a big meeting at their headquarters, that most of the people had to pay to attend; and another one in Amsterdam. Sweet! Who doesn’t love Amsterdam?
In 2014 they conducted 35 talks/panel discussions, how many did they do in 2015? We know of a few. Where are the links to these 18 global art projects? In 2014 Flaming Lotus Girls did Soma on the Embarcadero and there were another 3 in San Francisco; where are the 2015 projects located?
Did David Best’s Londonderry Temple get funding in 2015 and 2014? The Arts section of the 2014 annual report talked about participating in the ceremonial burning of this Temple. Were there two? Did the 8 projects in the Philippines that Burners Without Borders backed for $4000 in 2014, continue into 2015? How much support did we give the Philippines this year? I guess we’ll know next year.
Burners Without Borders achieved a lot, from their inception after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 until their absorption into the Burning Man Project in 2015. With 17 active chapters, it has participated in 123 grassroots initiatives in 11 countries over 10 years – and given grants to 114 of those. Each project got an average of $1,074. You can read about 8 of the recent ones (6 in the US) here. These winners got grants between $100-$1000. Are there more? The BWB web site lists 21 projects that participated in the 2015 initiative aiming to get 128 projects from 128 regions over 128 days, but it doesn’t appear that any funding went to those.
I think Burners Without Borders has done a lot of good, and if Burning Man can be a catalyst for people around the world to volunteer their time for arts-oriented civic programs, then I can see how Burning Man’s Ten Principles would be working to make the world a better place.
But is that really what’s happening here?
It’s not clear how the Burning Man Project actually helps these projects – it looks more like they are just trying to take credit for them, like they did with [free|space]. People have to do the projects themselves and raise all the money themselves, the reward is to be featured on Burning Man’s web site. Not even a $100 grant for these guys.
Perhaps this is how the Burning Man Project spreads its true values around the world. Not the Tin Principles, but “you do all the work and raise all the money, we take the glory”.
Goal: To create awareness within the Regional Network of the Burners Without Borders civic engagement mission. This mission is to globally promote activities that support a community’s inherent capacity to thrive by encouraging innovative approaches and grassroots initiatives that make a positive community impact. The BWB 128 Initiative serves as the foundation for creating a culture of ongoing engagement of BWB projects at the Regional Network level.
Every Region would be asked/challenged to do a single BWB project within a 128 day time frame from the GLC (April 10 -12, 2015). It is emphasized these project are not per Regional Contact, but by Region. All projects should be done within the Region.
Scope of Projects:
We encourage projects that can be completed within a few hours. You may initiate your own project, or explore within your broader home community, identifying existing volunteer opportunities where your Burner family can collaborate and bring something special to that volunteer role for a day. Whatever you choose, make sure the projects are at the level of complexity you feel most comfortable with.
- Starter – Food or clothing collection at an event, food bank crew shift,
- Medium – Costume neighborhood clean-up,
- Advanced – A day on a Habitat build, wall painting project at a shelter,
- More Advanced – Chiditarod (costumed bar crawl food & cash fundraiser). A More Advanced project may not be finished in the expected timeframe. However, the start on a viable plan works just as well.
Please note these are examples and not what the project expectation is at each level.
If a Region has an ongoing project or is the process of starting a previously planned project, the intent would not be to start a new project. They may submit those projects to showcase their Region’s BWB efforts.
No specific budget amount is associated with the projects. The expectation and encouragement is to have the projects be of little or no expense to the Region. Any expenses incurred is paid from within the Region.
Need Resources to help organize and plan your project?
Check out our ‘Kick-Starting your own Civic Project‘ document. If you have more questions- ask!
Showcasing your Project:
All 128 Initiative projects will be recognized and shared for a Job Well Done!
- Documentation on the BWB website.
- Inclusion in the BWB display at ‘Everywhere’ in BRC, for those that submit their project form and visual documentation prior to August 15.
- Highlighted on the Burning Blog write-up.
- A summary document of the projects will be produced for circulation. This document will be based on the content submitted for the BWB National website.
[Source: Burners Without Borders]