“Dear White People, Standing Rock Is Not Burning Man”

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It seems that the idea of “using The Ten Principles of Burning Man to make the world a better place” is not yet embraced by everyone else in the world.

screenshot-2016-12-01-01-35-18There has been a barrage of press this week about complaints that Burners are trying to turn the Dakota Pipeline protest at Standing Rock into Burning Man.

Some of the headlines:

The Independent (UK): Standing Rock: North Dakota access pipeline demonstrators say white people are ‘treating protest like Burning Man’

SF Chronicle: Standing Rock Activists Asking White People Not To Treat The Protest Like Burning Man

Daily Caller: White Hippes Descend on Standing Rock Protest, Treat It Like Burning Man

Papermag: White People Are Reportedly Treating the #NODAPL Protests Like Burning Man

Washington Times: Complaints Grow Over Whites Turning Dakota Access protest into hippie festival

Yes, the demonstrators have a new thing to protest about: Burners. The colonial subjects do not want to have a transformational experience from the colonists, they are quite happy with the culture that they already have – an ancient one sacred to them, principles that their people have risked their lives for centuries to defend.

GQ says:

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Opponents of the nearly-completed Dakota Access Pipeline have been confronted with some harrowing stuff during their ongoing occupation of Standing Rock Indian Reservation: pepper spraystrip searchesrubber bulletswater cannons, and now, as the calendar rolls over into December, plunging temperatures and the prospect of snow. It’s a volatile, dangerous situation, and the continued integrity of the demonstration will depend heavily on the exercise of restraint, sound judgment, and common sense. Unfortunately, your college roommate who was way too into Dave Matthews Band is apparently out there doing his best to fuck everything up. From the Independent:

People demonstrating at North Dakota’s Access Pipeline protest have expressed frustration at white demonstrators who are reportedly turning up to “colonise” the camp.

Concerns have been raised by protestors on social media, who claim that people are arriving at the Standing Rock demonstration for the “cultural experience” and treating it like Burning Man festival.

Yes, apparently some Johnny-come-lately Caucasian protesters have been comparing the protests to Burning Man, using donations to buy fluoride-free water, and—the cardinal sin of white people everywhere—playing their guitars around campfires. My fellow white people: do not do this shit! Standing Rock is not the place for you to embark on a meaningful spiritual journey to find yourself. 

If they are so inclined, it’s great for people to show their support for the tribe’s efforts to protect its water supply and preserve their traditional tribal burial grounds. But while it sounds there are plenty of non-tribal protestors in attendance who are doing things correctly, others need to learn some dang manners. 

Nobody wants to hear your songs with your guitar or drum around the fire” is an evergreen reminder, to be honest, but it especially applies to anyone who treats Standing Rock like it’s a friend of a friend’s housewarming party that they can crash.

[Source]

This is particularly amusing because BMorg have been boasting about how they have teams on the scene, including [former] Social Alchemist/House Bard Bear Kittay. If “playing guitars around campfires” was a middle name, it would be his…

 

As a rule we don’t share personal Facebook posts here, but in this case Bear was happy for his take on Standing Rock to be published on Medium, who bring us Bear Kittay From The Bismarck Airport Leaving Standing Rock (on a private plane, perhaps?):

Photo by Bear Kittay. Note their Principle “No Children in Potentially Dangerous Situations”, something the Org really needs to consider

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“Real, immediate dialogue. That is what we need. How can we create an environment where an indigenous person, gypsetter, and rust belter will be imbued with a sense of peership?

My experience of the microcosm of a cauldron that Standing Rock, in my brief visit there, has left me with much to ponder and digest. So many layers simultaneously coexisting.

Deep ancestral distrust, how can we begin to address the underlying fears and victimization?

On my journey to North Dakota I read “Quiet Thunder: The Wisdom of Crazy Horse” (thanks Michael Costuros) and was astounded to revisit, in chilling detail, the magnitude of the atrocities committed by the United States upon the Lakota Nation.

For all the focus we put on the inequities of the wider world, it struck me so deeply to look here into the history of our own land, and demystify the historical injustices, that were not from some far off historic time. For indeed, there is a through line that, very immediately connects the vile, systemic campaign against the Native Americans to the current moment of Standing Rock today.

I have tried to balance and remain agnostic from the many conspiracy theories that are in sprinkled around the Internet and spoken as if they are high truth. I believe this world is complex and that oversimplification can lead to the worst in human behavior.

So, can someone please give me an explanation as to why all of the major media companies are refusing to cover standing rock in earnest? It has all the telltale signs of conspiratorial activity, with huge corporate interests conspiring to suppress public outrage through misinformation and, even, fake news. If any of you that are reading this are deeply connected in the mainstream media, please use your influence to send field reporters.

Thank you to Seth BuntingElana Meta Jaroff and the many others who are on the front lines of this conflict vigilantly documenting and broadcasting the scene. Your work is making real impact, your courage is real.

This isn’t going to be one of those Facebook posts where I prescribe eloquent solutions or pruned emotional reflections — I’m sleep deprived, exasperated and very much in process.

If you’re reading this, I implore you to create conversation with those who may challenge you, trigger you, who you may easily judge, and subconsciously look down upon… get off of the Internet and receive the incredible gift of human connection outside of our affinity bubbles.

This is what the world needs. This is what our hearts need. This is but one facet in the many layers of Standing Rock as a metaphor for the front lines of our nation and indeed our world, in transition.

In love, and to the ongoing ceremony and prayer in our Greater Circle. Aho

And PS — it’s COLD AS HELL out there. Please consider the comfort of your warm home when making a donation to support the Water Protectors: http://www.ocetisakowincamp.org/

[Source]

I wondered if this “camp ocetisakowin” had anything to do with the Dakota Pipeline, or if it was some plug-n-play that BMorg had set up so they could fly execs in via their new airline. At first glance it looked like an anagram of “white ocean“…Turns out it’s the traditional name of the Sioux People and one of the largest camps up there. Among other things they’re seeking:

The sacred fire must be kept burning until it is guaranteed the water is protected for future generations.  One of our greatest needs for the winter will be wood.  It warms our lodges, cooks our food, heats the stones for our sweats. 

Tipis, winter liners, and poles

Yurts or other winter worthy structures

[Source]

Ask for yurts and help to keep the sacred fire burning and don’t be surprised if Burners show up! Perhaps they should’ve asked for ShiftPods…they could blast the pipeline away with that stadium-grade Funktion1 system.

Actually, the Daily Mail features “Burning Man-style” aerial photos…I see multiple Shift Pods. Where’s the DJ booth?

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[Source]

To be fair to Bear, the Standing Rock protestors were complaining about people treating it like Burning Man before he showed up:

Burbank Airport is a popular hub for General Aviation

Burbank Airport in Los Angeles is a popular hub for General Aviation, but an unusual departure location for an SF resident on a commercial flight

Tracing this story to its roots, it seems like the complaints about Burners started two weeks earlier, on November 14.

GQ quotes The Independent who plagiarize quote without attribution Counter Current News who quote Alicia Smith on Facebook.

Standing Rock has reportedly been overrun with white demonstrators trying to soak up the ‘cultural experience’

Demonstrators at North Dakota’s Pipeline protest have spoken out about the amount of white people who have turned up to “colonise” the camp.

The concerns have been raised by protestors in a series of tweets and Facebook posts. According to them, people have turned up to the Standing Rock demonstration to soak up the “cultural experience”, and are treating the camp like it is “Burning Man” festival or “The Rainbow Gathering”.

“They are coming in, taking food, clothing… and occupying space without any desire to participate in camp maintenance and without respect of tribal protocols,” said protestor Alicia Smith on Facebook. “I even witnessed several wandering in and out of camps comparing it to festivals. Waiting with big smiles expectantly for us to give them a necklace or an ‘indian’ name while our camp leader was speaking.”

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If you read our post Making Sense of the Non-Census (or did the Creepy Census) you will have encountered the term “2 Spirit”. I wondered what that was, now I know: someone who travels to sacred Indian land to scream at the Elders.

Burners Without Borders has been involved since at least October 28.

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There seems to be a battle going on of “which nerds should be the ones to collect donations to [*cough*] pass on to the protestors”. BWB director Chris Breedlove asked “where does this money go?” on Bear’s Facebook post asking for donations to ThriveAction.org , which redirects to thrivemarket.com, which says that the distribution really gets done by UpToUs.Net – which is a “coming soon” 1-page web site four months after raising $41,104 of their $75,000 goal for a “caravan to the DNC” . They have partnered with All It Takes, created by Divergent actress Shailene Woodley and her mom to send poor kids to training camps. It’s about 100% of their annual budget. Where does the money go? It’s complicated…

While I share Breedlove’s concerns and his intentions sound noble, it turns out Burners Without Borders are promoting their own preferred charity, in partnership with Patricia Arquette.
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Isn’t this exactly the kind of thing Burners Without Borders is supposed to be doing? The Burning Man Project has $7.5 million cash (at least, it did at the end of 2015). Why can’t they spare $80k for this project, if it’s so worthy? Why can’t they redistribute $1 from each of our tickets for this? Why are they promoting Patricia Arquette, who a couple of months ago was hating on Burning Man?

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Why does Burning Man with many millions have to wait for Patricia Arquette to raise tens of thousands before they can help the Sioux tribe in North Dakota? The tribe’s potty requirements presumably tick the Ten Principle boxes of “Immediacy”, “Civic Responsibility”, and (dare I say it) “Radical Self Expression”…meanwhile the existing portapotties are freezing up.

Perhaps They want to ameliorate the concerns Hollywood quasi-celebrities have about Burning Man’s environmental values by partnering with them on a composting toilets project. Whether such projects get funded enough and completed in time is not as important as the “optics”. Someone semi-famous who went to Burning Man once is making something happen, somewhere, somehow, coming soon. Woo-hoo! We’re saving the world with Larry’s Ten Principles, and OPM!

So far this “fund by Becca Dakini” has raised $30k of their $85k goal. I guess if there’s one thing Burning Man is good at, it’s managing dumps in remote locations…

porta-potty-blowdown

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In this case it’s not just Burners Without Borders and Burning Man raising money for toilets. It’s also people (and networks) from Do Lab, Symbiosis, Lucidity, their brand consultants, and “others” from the “global festival community”. Colonize turns out to be an apt word, since their “focus is on village building”:

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Protector’s Alliance is a unified platform and partnership effort of aligned organizations, skilled workers, producers and individuals from the global festival community. We are working to support front line environmental crisis and social justice conflicts. We gather accurate information about the needs of an action, manage a database and resource bank of our community’s assets, deploy and distribute resources effectively with a focus on “village building”. We support on the front lines with effective aid, skills, labor, infrastructure and tools, through an agile approach to fulfilling the emergent needs of actions. We are committed to working as allies, building pathways for inter-cultural cooperation, with cultural sensitivity training and education for our partners and affiliates to ensure appropriateness of our conduct towards nurturing respectful relationships and empowering peoples of place. Individuals and Organizations that are part of this alliance include the communities and networks of Burners Without Borders, Burning Man, Do LaB Inc, UPLIFT, Lucidity Festivals, Keyframe-Entertainment, ReInhabiting the Village, Take Root Productions and others
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Deploy and distribute resources effectively? Who’s counting that? Are they planning to build their villages on tribal land? And who are these unnamed “others” collecting all the databases? What happens to the data? Is it shared with the “Burning Nerds” or “Burning Man Earth” teams?
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Composting toilets might not be “fulfilling the emergent needs of actions” if the protest gets shut down next week like the Governor has ordered:

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On Tuesday, the Morton County Sheriff’s Department indicated that it would block delivery of food, medicine and other supplies to protesters who defy orders to leave the Oceti Sakowin camp. Gov. Jack Dalrymple on Monday ordered mandatory evacuation of the camp because of a predicted strong winter storm. 

 

The first blow to the camp’s security was an announcement last week that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would shut an area to the public that includes the main camp. The corps said its decision was based on growing violence between police and protesters and the onset of cold weather.  

 [Source]
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Burner General Wesley Clark‘s son is leading 2000 unarmed Veterans up there to make a human shield. Frozen or not, shit’s about to get real. The Veterans group have raised nearly a million bucks on their GoFundMe. Like the Haiti earthquake, Standing Rock seems like a goldmine for all the helpers. How much of the money leaves the hands of the white folks non-indigenous groups and flows into the hands of the tribes is an open question. I didn’t notice any Indians amongst all these various fundraising entities.
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A search for “Standing Rock” on GoFundMe turns up thousands of fundraisers.
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All of these are still open, which begs the question “which will close first, the protests or the fundraisers?” Back in the day, people used to pay their own costs to protest for things they believe in.
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Another BWB-backed group called Red Lightning are setting up a real Burner-style camp there. You can send donations directly to them:
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Reality Sandwich, a site founded by Daniel Pinchbeck, today published a lengthy feature by Tamra Lucid “From Burning Man to Standing Rock”

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But now, 300 indigenous nations are there in Cannonball, North Dakota, protecting the water. Among them the Yaqui, Bianca’s tribe.

But Bianca has another tribe, too — she’s a Burner. Burners have been getting a bad reputation at Standing Rock because of some who treat it like just another festival. Burners who freeload, you know, tourists, or colonists. People who play guitar at campfire when they shouldn’t. People who explain when they should be listening. But they aren’t the only Burners at Standing Rock.

…I witnessed festival families showing up at Standing Rock.  Fortunately, many burners came in service to the indigenous, while unfortunately others came to “have an experience” to showcase on social media.  The later is what became most evident and publicized and provides our community with an opportunity to grow and become culturally aware of how we show up in the world.  It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for those of us who have not grown up with tribal people to interact, and to garner a more real understanding of what it means to interact with tribal people. Go and sit quietly in the different councils (preferably giving the primary seats to the Natives), go and engage with the gathered nations by asking one simple question, “How can I be in service to you today?”  

 

If you’re unsure of how to do this or nervous you will step on toes, connect with https://www.protectorsalliance.org

[Source]

In fact there are more than 500 tribes there from around the world. My people are there too, although our way of protest is a little different from kumbaya, kombucha, and fluoride-free water…here’s Kereama Te Ua from my hometown of Wellington at Standing Rock doing a haka, the Maori war dance..

You may have seen this sort of thing before in sporting events with the New Zealand national team, or in the movie Invictus with Morgan Freeman. I can guarantee that you haven’t seen a haka like this, though. This is the real deal, he’s not messing around. It’s significant that he doesn’t rise from his knee. If he does, it’s to fight. These people are not to be trifled with, they ate the brains of their enemies on the battlefield to take their power.
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It remains to be seen whether these more traditional forms of protest will be more effective than thousands of GoFundMes for unemployed/trust-fund Burners looking for a transformational experience and promising that “100% of the money” goes to the Indians. We wish everyone involved a peaceful and successful protest. It’s a global village now. Mess with the tribes and you mess with all the tribes.
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[Update 5/12/16 7:27am]

Chris Breedlove from Burners Without Borders has commented on this story on our Facebook page. Predictably, instead of addressing any of the issues we raised, he tried to spin it and place the blame here.
BMorg can do no wrong! It is only Burners.Me that does wrong. BMorg good! Burners.Me bad!
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BURNILEAKS: Asking for Gifting, 2015 Edition

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” <donations@burningman.org>
Subject: A culture of giving
Date: December 17, 2015
To: BURNERS.ME SOURCE
https://donate.burningman.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.

Warm regards,

Marian Goodell
Chief Engagement Officer

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burnersxxx:

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?

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Crimson Rose, World Cities Culture Summit Amsterdam 2014 [Image: burningman.org]

Crimson Rose, World Cities Culture Summit Amsterdam 2014 [Image: burningman.org]

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.

 


 

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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”.

emphasis ours:

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.

Project Overview:
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.

Examples include:

  • 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.

Project Budget:
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!
Recognition includes:

  • 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]

 

 

Re-Writing History for the Banksters

Art historian, PhD student Stephen Mack, has written an excellent de-construction of the Burning Man 2016 art theme at The Daily Dot. The Medicis had a unicorn horn in their art collection. Who knew! And BMOrg are playing fast and loose Lorenzo Mediciwith history. Who’d have thunk it!

Please read it in its entirety – here’s the conclusion for TL;DR:

There actually is something about this period of the Florentine Renaissance thatwould appeal to the Burning Man crowd: The Florentine art patrons believed genuinely in the idea that money could be spent virtuously and they felt that spending on art was virtuous. Several scholars have gone into this idea in some depth. I think that many people in the Renaissance looked to art to engage them in learned discussion—perhaps to contemplate morality, to visualize and understand religious concepts, and even, I think, to contemplate on the ideas of nature and of representation. Spending money on art wasn’t virtuous simply because it provided the masses with beautiful objects, but because, in the Renaissance (as in most periods), to engage with a work of art was, in effect, to seriously contemplate both the world they lived in and the spiritual world beyond this one.

I imagine that the organizers of Burning Man had this type of contemplation in mind when they conceptualized the “Turning Man.” I’m sure many bros will have wonderful acid- and shroom-induced journeys staring up at Turning Man, and may indeed come out of it with a challenged view of the world. This is a great thing. And, ultimately, it is for exactly this reason that we should spend money on art in the first place. (Well, not so much the drug-culture part, but the challenging-our-view-of- the-world part. Not that the drug part is so bad, either.)

But the fanciful utopian history Burning Man has written to underpin this journey is an utter farce. And rewriting history to our own ends is never a good thing. 

That said, the Renaissance did their own rewriting of history, too. The learned elites idolized Classical Antiquity in much the same fanciful way that Burning Man now idolizes the Renaissance. In this way—though it was likely unintentional—Burning Man actually has done a decent job emulating the Renaissance. 

Read the full article at Daily Dot.

In the last year the non-profit Burning Man Project – which we’re told was created as the ultimate gift to us, giving Burning Man back to the Burners – has assimilated other charities BRAF, Burners Without Borders, and Black Rock Solar. Control of these networks is now cemented in the grip of the Project and the Ruling Group behind it. The Rulers get to play Medici in the economy of Black Rock City. They bank all the money from the Gerlach festival ($34 million), tax free (even though it’s not a tax deductible deduction for us buying tickets). They take a gallery commission on art sold outside the Playa by Burning Man artists. They get a share of the revenues of more than 100 licensed vendors approved to sell things at Black Rock City. They grant about $800,000 in cash and a couple of hundred thousand “in kind” in their patronage of the arts. Most artists are expected to raise two-thirds to three-quarters of the project costs themselves. And work for free.

My sincere hope is this “creative Maker artist” theme flavor will signify a new era from Burning Man’s owners founders controllers. Let’s hope for much more generous patronage of Burner art from the Medicis Ruling Group, both visible and invisible. 10% of revenues would be a great start – and let the artists pay themselves.

We will get a hint of the direction we’re heading soon, when the long overdue IRS public filing for 2014 for the Burning Man Project is made public. Perhaps we will get to hear soon about some of the activities and achievements of the Burning Man Project in taking our contributions to execute its mission.

 

 

The Ten Year Anniversary of Burners Without Borders

BWB_logo

Thanks to Jex from BMIR for writing this guest post. It adds to earlier stories we have published regarding Burners Without Borders:

Burners Storm The Jersey Shore

Superstorm Sandy Vs The Burners

Seeding The Future

3 months ago, Burners Without Borders got assimilated by the Borg. We hope this will lead to an expansion in the amount of good they do in the world.

 


 

The Ten Year Anniversary of Burners Without Borders

by Jex

During a recent online conversation on Burners.Me, I, as many do, found myself in what grew to be a heated discussion. Some of my final words included something of ‘why not focus on the positive in our community, showcasing volunteers and such?’. With these words, Zos offered me a voice via his publication to showcase said volunteers. A lovely opportunity to share my words on what may possibly be my biggest inspiration, as well as what I believe is a huge part of the pulse within the burner community. Thank you, Zos for sharing this piece and thank you in advance for reading…Burn Bright – Jexime, Production Director of BMIR – 94.5 Burning Man Information Radio.

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Peru_BWB website

Ten years ago, on August 29th, 2005, the third largest hurricane ever recorded to make landfall on the United States showed its wrath on Louisiana and Mississippi. Hurricane Katrina, the namesake of this monster storm, peaked at a category 5 with over 175 mph winds. It left New Orleans 80% underwater, with a death toll of 1,577 people in the state of Louisiana, and another 238 fatalities in neighboring Mississippi. Katrina caused over 15 million people to evacuate their homes and left what may exceed an estimated 150 billion dollars in economic damage, with hundreds of thousands of citizens left unemployed, displaced, and homeless.

Hurricane Sandy Relief_BWB website

BWB Grant Program_BWB websiteTen years ago, on August 28th, 2005, Burning Man presented us with ‘Psyche’ – exploring psychology: self-expression, self-reflection and the unconscious power of dreams. Who are you? Who are we? What is this ‘we’, this ‘I’, we speak of so commonly on a daily basis? As burners pondered the very existence of their symbiotic relationships between I, we, and the power of dreams, a plethora of self-expressing art filled the clockworked city streets, giving unique avenues for self-discovery.

 

During this journey of self-reflection, as Hurricane Katrina simultaneously destroyed the lives of millions of people, one of the most important and phenomenal representations of Civic Responsibility was born. When word made its way through the dust of the devastation of Katrina, a group of burners discovered a profound sense of self and reflection of those in need. They headed straight to ground zero of the disaster area to help rebuild the destroyed communities.

 

Bayou_BWB website“As the volunteer numbers grew, they focused their initial efforts on rebuilding a destroyed Vietnamese temple in Biloxi, Mississippi. After several months, that job done, they moved to another needy Mississippi community, Pearlington, to continue to work hard – gifting their time – to help those in need. Over the course of eight months, BWB volunteers gifted over $1 million dollars worth of reconstruction and debris removal to the residents of Mississippi.”

-BurnersWithoutBorders.org

 

This solitary event opened the doors to one of the greatest grassroots, volunteer driven, organizations to emerge from our ever growing community – Burners Without Borders. With a goal to empower local communities, BWB supports their volunteers from all around the world in finding creative solutions through community efforts to aid in disaster relief. They believe in the power of collaboration and community driven leadership to make solid and effective change. The BWB mission statement reads:

 

“BWB promotes activities around the globe that support a community’s inherent capacity to thrive by encouraging innovative approaches to disaster relief and grassroots initiatives that make a positive impact.”

-BurnersWithoutBorders.org

 

Haiti_BWB websiteSince Hurricane Katrina, BWB has supported major global projects including; Will Ruddick’s project of Kenya’s alternative currency, Green Peace’s Water Patrol with several members of Buklod Ng Kabataan, the communities affected by the Colorado Floods, participation in a one month artist residency at Jakmel Ekspresyon in Haiti (a program set up and run by Su Frame, a Chicago based art educator and activist) as a response to the horrific earthquake to hit Haiti in 2010, relief for those affected by Hurricane Sandy, and a multi-year earthquake disaster relief project in Peru. BWB sets up programming for volunteers to contribute to ongoing efforts such as these, as well as offering $100-$1000 dollars in grant money every April for civic projects that make a positive impact.

 

Project Hope Art_BWB websiteAs the ever growing nucleus of Burning Man and its diaspora continues its shift, feeding upon the current state of our populous, us burners find ourselves at the target of hyper criticism and challenges to our foundation’s ethics. Drama saturated rants infest social media – shrieking cries of billionaire plug and play camps echo far and wide as if they were the Mordor of Burning Man, while playa famed EDM DJs curse the dust over power discrepancies. We shockingly discover our beloved Ten Principles are mere reflections of our own ideals, held so tight they started to fall, vowels and consonants shattering into shards of morals and attachments, leaving us holding our knees, shaking in deep Playa, desperately asking ‘whatever shall we do?’. We look to the creators to change what is quite possibly in OUR hands to change. Perhaps, Burning Man is our true mirror and the evolution of our precious world and the fate of our community is our responsibility? Our Civic Responsibility. Let’s say the Borg are not our metaphorical parents, but are the gatekeepers who give us the blank canvas to create what we desire to reflect. Rules are inevitable – we are a society of rules, whether we’d like to admit it or not. However, are these rules a reflection of the chaos we are impassioned by? Are we subconsciously choosing entropy as our community religion? Are we the destructors of our own world while struggling through cloudy vision, unable to see we have the ability to come together to create change?

 

A mindful and ever so humble suggestion: Look to the example of those who have come before you. BWB is a pure example of the power we have to create something fantastic, something mind-blowing, something truly capable of changing the world.   They are not just an organization working toward aid of physical disaster relief, they are a symbol of how community, solid leadership, and how the true sense of Civic Responsibility can create massive waves. Be the change you want to see, in whichever community you dance in. Start with your passion, connect with those like minds who share it, rid yourself of mental clutter, and watch what can unfold. You can add to the poetry of those who have come before you and contribute to building a better world.

Haiti_2_BWB websiteProject Hope Art 2_BWB website

“When we connect our passion to the community purpose, anything is possible.”

-Carmen Maulk, BWB

 

BWB_Infiinte PossibilitiesThis 2015 burn, we celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Burners Without Borders. May you continue to succeed exponentially, for many years to come. Thank you for the inspiration.

 

Visit http://www.BurnersWithoutBorders.org to find out more and get involved!!

SmallVersionBWBinfographic1

Image: Burning Man

Wanted: Someone To Make The Whole Dream Come True

robin-hoodhigh engagement philanthropy

Remember when BMOrg wanted to become a non-profit, raising funds from Burners to further its mission of spreading Radical Self-Transformation throughout the world?

Well, guess what. It’s still happening. And now, you could be the actual one to make it happen. Yes, one lucky Burner gets to be responsible for manifesting this entire vision of BMOrg, the Borg, Larry & Co, McLarry, and everyone else in the hierarchy of inclusion that is Burning Man 2.0. The rainmaker! The funds taker! The gifting staker!

From Painter Executive Search (emphasis ours):

Burning Man

Director of Philanthropic Engagement

Position Description

 Painter Executive Search is supporting Burning Man in their search for an experienced and entrepreneurial fundraiser to help shape and execute a fundraising strategy that honors Burning Man values and invites the whole community to share and spread Burning Man culture around the globe.

Burning Man Project (Burning Man) is a 501(c)3 public benefit corporation whose mission is to facilitate and extend the culture that has issued from the Burning Man event (AKA Black Rock City) into the larger world. Burning Man is committed to nurturing Black Rock City as the seminal manifestation of the 10 Principles-based culture, while developing a support infrastructure to connect, celebrate and facilitate the sharing of the culture in communities around the world. Based in San Francisco, California, Burning Man employs a diverse staff of creative professionals with extensive knowledge of art, civics, and community building who seek to bring experiences to people in grand, awe-inspiring and joyful ways that lift the human spirit, address social problems and inspire a sense of community, culture and personal engagement.

Burning Man exists and grows from the vibrant and creative contributions of a largely volunteer community. “Burners” who are transformed by their experiences in Black Rock City and embrace the 10-Principles culture, seek to contribute to the social good “off-playa” when they return to their home communities. Burners gift their personal resources in a range of ways, through financial support, labor, creation of artwork, public art, community building, civic action and other forms of participation. It is this gifting culture that fuels the community’s creativity and powers the social transformation which has led to the dissemination of 10 Principles-based work in the world.

The Burning Man organization seeks to be a node in this highly dispersed network by facilitating learning, sharing ideas and technical knowledge, developing resources to seed and foster grassroots work and by celebrating the culture and gifts that flow from it. Burning Man supports this diverse community by awarding grants for art and civic engagement projects, producing interactive art exhibitions and events, offering fresh and unique interactive public art and performance experiences, as well as providing technical, operational or administrative support for efforts to influence social change in local communities. They also share their values and ideas in public speaking engagements and connect leaders, informal groups and like-minded organizations who are working to develop a vibrant, life-enhancing world of civic participation. Burning Man’s community of artists, event participants, and volunteers spans the globe and includes over 60 community produced regional celebrations and gatherings as well as civic engagement work in more than 24 countries.

POSITION SUMMARY

Working in collaboration with the leadership team, the Director of Philanthropic Engagement (Director) will lead the development and execution of a fundraising strategy which celebrates a culture of gifting and extends the opportunities for those who embrace Burning Man’s mission to participate fully in support of that work. Reporting to the CEO, the Director will provide strategic and operational leadership and manage the department staff and programs including annual, major gift and capital campaign initiatives while continuing to nurture and celebrate the unique and vibrant volunteer culture.

This role is highly creative and calls upon an experienced fundraiser to establish sound fundraising practices which embrace 10 Principles-based culture. Deep experience with fundraising mechanics, including clear policies, infrastructure and process development, as well as substantial experience in donor engagement and major gifts is critical. Engaging with donors of a wide range of means, including volunteers whose gifts of time, expertise and passion are essential to the culture will be highly important. Working through ideas and programs that develop a range of opportunities aligned with donors’ and volunteers’ interests and celebrating all contributions with equal enthusiasm is critical for this role.

ORGANIZATIONAL VALUES, HISTORY AND PROGRAM

10 Principles and a Gifting Culture

Burning Man co-founder Larry Harvey wrote the 10 Principles in 2004 as guidelines for the newly-formed regional network. Importantly, they are descriptive rather than prescriptive and are a reflection of the Burning Man community’s ethos and culture as it had organically developed since the event’s inception. Understanding these 10 Principles will be critical in developing a culturally sensitive and effective fundraising program. While these principles rose from the experience of Black Rock City, they define Burning Man culture on and off the playa–how they inform the work of Burning Man continues to be explored and evolved as the work of the community moves off-playa and around the world.

…Burning Man both raises funds for programmatic needs, core initiatives and grantmaking programs, and distributes a range of support grants for arts, civic engagement and training.  Burning Man also highlights and supports other mechanisms that fund and support artists, celebrations or civic efforts—elevating multiple channels for support. Challenges to fundraising methods will arise when philanthropy seeks to influence in ways that are contrary to other Burning Man values such as Decommodification or Radical Inclusion; where contributions can be seen as class-driven, transactional or as a shortcut for personal participation. Maintaining an even playing field, where people are treated and thanked with equal care for their unique contributions–regardless of background or level of personal wealth–are important to members of our community.

…In 2011, they recruited a Board of Directors and formed the nonprofit organization, The Burning Man Project, in a formalized effort to extend the principles, creativity, and culture of Burning Man into the world, year round. The nonprofit received its 501(c)3 status in May 2012. In order to more fully realize the vision of the new nonprofit, the Board of Directors and Burning Man’s leadership developed a strategy of aggregating the programs and organizations into a single entity. This strategy ultimately brought together Black Rock City LLC, the Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) and Burners Without Borders (BWB) under the umbrella of the Burning Man Project nonprofit. Today the Burning Man Project, simply known as Burning Man, is positioned to support these key programs through its focus on three core areas of work; The Event, The Culture and The Network.

In the past, the LLC raised nearly all of its money from ticket sales to the annual event in Nevada, but that alone cannot support the flourishing global expansion of Burning Man culture. In order to seed and support the dreams of inspired Burners year-round, the organization needs to grow charitable contributions from the community to help support this important work.

The mission of Burning Man Arts is to change the paradigm of art from a commodified object to an interactive, participatory, shared experience of creative expression.

In the Fall of 2014, all art initiatives, were joined to create a single, robust program that strives to provide more streamlined services to artists, produce more interactive, community driven art and inspire more civic engagement projects. The Burning Man Arts program supports artists on and off the playa, and is exploring an expanded range of offerings, including increased collaborations and partnerships with like-minded organizations and additional support services for artists, including fiscal sponsorship.

Burning Man Arts provides a range of grants focused on Black Rock City, Global Arts and Civic Arts. This year Burning Man provided more than $1 million in grants to artists. In the previous 13 years, the Black Rock Arts Foundation had funded 149 projects worldwide, providing more than $2,500,000 in grants and support to artists and more than $430,000 through its Grants to Artists program and installed or otherwise supported 38 projects (with direct grants of $770,000) through its Civic Arts program...

DIRECTOR OF PHILANTHROPIC ENGAGEMENT

RESPONSIBILITIES

The Director of Philanthropic Engagement will build a sophisticated and sustainable fundraising program that seamlessly integrates into Burning Man’s programmatic initiatives to advance the organization’s mission. The role focuses on both fundraising program development and relationship building, including identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of contributors to Burning Man from individuals, foundations and companies, public agencies as well as a large number of volunteers including artists, regional leaders and event participants whose creativity and participation is the cultural capital upon which Burning Man is built.

Goals for the Director include establishing a culture of fundraising that invites broad participation in the development of leadership and major gifts and ensures that all gifts are welcomed with a spirit of gratitude. The Director will also create systems and processes that enhance the ability to deepen relationships with donors and volunteers and that effectively acknowledge their contributions in a timely and affirming manner. The Director will be responsible for increasing both the base of individuals and foundations contributing to Burning Man annually, and in deepening the support through effective storytelling, engagement and participation. They will lead the efforts to creating an increasingly healthy and dependable annual fund, as well as prepare the infrastructure for a future capital campaign or special project need.

Specific responsibilities include managing a portfolio of leadership donors and prospects, supervising staff and participating as a member of the leadership team. The department is being constituted by existing staff members from other departments, but the Director will have the opportunity to hire as needed. The current department is envisioned as a Major Gifts Officer, an Individual Gifts Officer, a Fundraising Grants Officer, an Information Systems Development Assistant, a Special (Fundraising) Events Manager, and a Stewardship and Volunteer Appreciation Programs Manager. Aligning the existing fundraising efforts and building understanding and consistency across all fundraising programs will be an important focus for the position.

DUTIES & ESSENTIAL JOB FUNCTIONS

LEADERSHIP, STRATEGY AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Support and partner with the CEO, Board members and other key leadership to develop and execute a fundraising strategic plan;
  • Actively work across the organization to set and communicate specific fundraising objectives, strategies and goals in support of the mission and strategic plan;
  • Work with the CEO to engage and activate Burning Man’s Board of Directors, including establishing a Fund Development Committee and supporting, motivating, training Board volunteers in their fundraising efforts;
  • Actively understand, reflect, and promote Burning Man to the public, effectively and joyfully sharing the fundraising opportunities and needs of the community;
  • Engage with volunteers in a manner that affirms their importance and value to Burning Man culture and both facilitates and celebrates their personal contributions of creativity, participation and time;
  • With the CEO and leadership team, steward the strategic vision of the organization, participating in weekly leadership team meetings, communicating priorities and goals, and building a positive team culture that reflects the organizations values;
  • In consultation with others, craft organizational messaging about Burning Man’s programs to communicate and motivate current and prospective donors to strengthen their organizational and philanthropic commitment;
  • Working across the organization, help establish an awareness and a vocabulary for communicating outcomes of Burning Man’s highly diverse and creative work;
  • In coordination with Burning Man Communications, drive development-related content in such publications such as Jack Rabbit Speaks, newsletters, annual reports, fundraising appeals, e-mail, and other communication channels;
  • Engage in positive leadership development within the team to advance Burning Man as a great organization;
  • Play a leadership role in capital campaigns and discussions that ensure the long-term sustainability of Burning Man and its programs.

MANAGEMENT AND PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT

  • Manage the day-to-day responsibilities of executing the development program;
  • Identify, develop, and mentor the development team; promote professional development of the staff and creatively organize them to maximize their effectiveness and clearly define their roles, relationships, and expectations;
  • Collaborate with the Finance Director to develop and implement Burning Man’s financial strategy; oversee the development and monitoring of the annual budget for the department;
  • Oversee research of funding sources and trends, with foresight, to help position Burning Man ahead of major funding changes or trends;
  • Oversee development and execution of all fund development proposals with a long-term relationship-management approach;
  • Monitor donor and fundraising information; regularly provide and present data and analysis to the board and senior leaders, reporting progress and challenges to fundraising efforts;
  • Develop and implement a stewardship program aimed at cultivating deeper ties with donors;
  • Oversee and provide supervision for hands on/engaged experiences, receptions and events;
  • Assist in the creation, publishing and maintenance of process documentation.

INDIVIDUAL FUNDRAISING

  • Manage a portfolio of leadership gift prospects ($25,000 and above) contributing to achievement of the overall fundraising goals for Burning Man;
  • Regularly meet with the CEO to review the fund development prospect pool and devise specific strategies for individual engagement and solicitation.

EXPERIENCE

A successful candidate will likely have:

  • Ability and successful experience in conceptualizing a comprehensive strategy for institutional advancement; possess a deep command of the fund development body of knowledge;
  • Demonstrated success in identifying, cultivating and soliciting individual donors which resulted in a robust pipeline of new relationships and significant increases funding;
  • Experience building and/or significantly growing a sophisticated, complex development function, ideally within a visual arts-related organization or cultural institution;
  • Excellent relationship-building skills and agility to build rapport with internal and external stakeholders around innovative ideas and programs;
  • Able to work effectively with artists, board members, donors of all financial capacities and colleagues across the Burning Man community;
  • Experience fostering deep relationships with volunteers and valuing their contributions of time expertise and passion as equal to any financial contribution;
  • Ability to both motivate and engage volunteer leaders in fund development activities, including making ‘the ask’;
  • Exceptional communication skills; articulate, with proven ability to write effectively and speak persuasively;
  • Superior organizational skills, with a strong sense of detail-orientation and excellent time management skills;
  • Demonstrated success in working with a diverse volunteer leadership; donors and donor prospects; and corporate, community, and government leaders;
  • Demonstrated leadership skills in order to establish and build a finely-tuned fund development department;
  • A bachelor’s degree, preferably a Graduate Degree;
  • Valid Drivers’ License and a clean driving record;
  • Direct familiarity with Burning Man as a result of participating in the annual Black Rock City and/or official Burning Man regional events in other locations;
  • Ability to adjust work schedule seasonally and work away from home (on playa) for up to 10 days during the months of August and September.

ATTRIBUTES

  • Dedicated to principles of behavior and ethics of the Burning Man organization; able to embrace the organization’s evolving mission and the sweep of its vision, and will fit well within a culture of impassioned, driven, creative, and dedicated professionals;
  • Dynamic, highly organized, and strategic individual with a deep understanding of their personal value and a commitment to express that value creatively and with passion;
  • Inspirational, able to bring out the best in others and joyfully approach challenges as opportunities for growth and learning;
  • Ability to think on his or her feet, problem solve, critically think, and remain calm under stress;
  • Friendly, personable demeanor conducive to effectively presenting information and responding to questions from executives, managers, staff, vendors, artists, local community members, participants, BMP board members, and the general public;
  • Ability to prioritize tasks in a fast-paced environment along with the ability to accept interruptions as part of the routine; confidence in managing multiple projects and deadlines;
  • Exercise a keen sense of organizational diplomacy, able to maintain personal integrity and uphold high standards of confidentiality;
  • Committed to building a responsive, efficient, and highly lucrative fundraising program within a dynamic cultural enterprise;
  • Possesses a high degree of emotional intelligence, self-awareness and fortitude.

 

For additional information or to be considered for this role contact:

Nancy Painter

Nancy@painterexecutivesearch.com

(415) 202- 6240 [Source]

If you know anyone who you think might be suitable, please suggest them to Nancy. I can definitely think of a few candidates.

The stakes are high: if this person does a good job, then the entire Burning Man Project vision of the past 30 years could actually be achieved.

Anyone care to venture a guess as to what happened to the last person in this role?

High Engagement Philanthropy: taking it to the next level. $25k and up.

High Engagement Philanthropy: taking it to the next level. $25k and up.

Source: Columbia University

Seems like a positive career trajectory. Source: Columbia University