BMOrg Asks For A Gift AGAIN

Image: Vincent Albanese/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Not every charity has a $30 million budget. Image: Vincent Albanese/Flickr (Creative Commons)

 

As if we don’t have anything better to do with our money at Christmas time. Anyone else get one of these?

It’s not even a week since the last Jackrabbit arrived, begging us to give them money. Nigerian banking scammers don’t spam me this much.

What “experiences that transform peoples’ lives” will you create with our money, BMOrg? A trip to Amsterdam for “community leader” Crimson Rose?

How’s that transparency coming along?


 

From: Burning Man <steven.young@burningman.org>

Burning Man Project

Dear Steve

As you may know, 2014 has been a transformative year for Burning Man. We are growing and changing to more effectively support the Global Network, our Arts and Civic Engagement Program, and building Black Rock City to support growing connections and foster creativity around the world.

We are reaching out to you again to remind you that the end of the year is approaching. Everything we do is driven by community participation, communal effort and gifting. With your help, we will reach our goal of supporting more art, artists and community leaders.

We will focus our momentum on programs and experiences that transform people’s lives. Together we can inspire more creative and connected communities.

We appreciate your participation in our community and we appreciate your help in extending our work beyond Black Rock City. Please give today, every gift is valued no matter it’s size.

To learn more about the programs your gift supports,
follow the links below.

ARTS:
Global Art Grants
Big Art for Small Towns
Black Rock City Art

CIVIC ENGAGEMENT:
Civic Art Program
Burners Without Borders
Grants for Community Initiatives

GLOBAL NETWORK OF EMERGING COMMUNITY LEADERS:
Regional Network of over 250 volunteer Regional Contacts on 5 continents
Global Leadership Conference in San Francisco (April, 2015)
European Leadership Summit in Amsterdam (February, 2015)

Please make a donation today!

Want to learn more? Click here to read the Jack Rabbit Speaks…

catalyst for creative culture in the world

 


 

Related Posts:

All We Want For Chri$tma$ Is Your Money talked about the recent “Special Edition” of the Jackrabbit Speaks, which rather than wishing us a Merry Christmas, was dedicated to us giving BMOrg money, including a cut of our Amazon shopping.

Dear Burning Man… A reader responds to an email from BMOrg soliciting money.

The Art of Giving went through everything Burning Man Project (BMP) has done since they came up with it 4 years ago.

Art World Rocked By Burning Man’s Latest Move looked at the merger between BRAF and BMP, and the poor track record of both charities in giving grants out to the causes they support, versus accumulating cash in the bank and spending it on overheads.

2013 Charity Results looked at the performance of BRAF from the latest IRS filing. We’re still waiting on the 2013 IRS Form 990 for BMP.

Art Versus Money looked at the terribly one-sided Arts Grant contract, that seems to treat artists with contempt.

Charity Versus Tax-Free considers the idea that “non-profit” is not the same as “charitable”, and looks at some of the clauses in the organization’s new Bylaws that don’t seem consistent with Directors running lavish Commodification Camps.

Burning Man’s Gift Economy And Its Effect On Mainstream Society talks about the hypocrisy of BMOrg claiming credit for the charitable efforts of Burners, and pretending they gave financial support to charities that they actually didn’t – including a couple that were substantially funded by myself, and received $0 from BMOrg who promoted them as examples of “all the good Burning Man is doing in the world”.

 

Dear Burning Man…

A guest post from our reader Sandstorm. The email he’s responding to is shared at the end of this post.



Like many members of the Burning Man community I’ve spent the past 2+ months feeling justifiably concerned about the topic of Commodification Camps (aka Turnkey Camps aka Plug And Play Camps) and their place in and impact upon Burning Man and the Burner community. Like many other Burners I’ve voiced my concerns about this subject on websites such as Facebook (FB) and Burning Man’s ePlaya bulletin board, as well as in the comments sections of some of the relevant recent entries on the official Burning Man Blog. I’ve also used my artistic skills to address what I call the Commodification Camp Controversy (CCC). I’ve recently created a handful of light-hearted satirical images that speak to this subject and I’ve posted them in the unofficial Burning Man group on FB. I’ve included one of those images here.

BIG JIM JTS

2 days ago I and countless other Burners received a fundraising email from the Burning Man Project (BMP). I was not pleased when I read that email and that’s because until now Burning Man’s official response to the CCC has been at best lacking and at worst inept. After reading that email I carefully drafted and then sent a reply email to the BMP. I then posted the contents of that email in the unofficial Burning Man group on FB and also on ePlaya. I did so because I wanted to share with other Burners how I was trying to constructively address the CCC. I was honestly surprised by the amount of positive response that I received to those posts.

At some point on Thursday evening the owner of burners.me reached out to me on FB via PM and asked me if I’d be willing to post on his site my above mentioned email to the BMP and some of the CCC related images that I’ve recently posted on FB. I asked him to let me think about the matter before I said yes or no to him and I did so for a variety of reasons.

Although I’m a 6 time burner I believe and know that I’m a nobody in the Burner community. I’m sure as hell not a spokesperson for this community. I’m also neither an attention seeker nor am I someone who seeks to or enjoys to stir up discord about sensitive topics. Given those facts and given the amount of debate surrounding both the CCC and burners.me I was initially reluctant to share on this site the reply email that I recently sent to the BMP. That said, I know that I wrote that email with integrity and honesty and thus I’m comfortable with sharing it here.

My reply email to the BMP seems to have resonated with many of the people who’ve read it. By posting that email on this site there’s a chance that my email will reach a wider audience and perhaps inspire other burners to find their own ways of peacefully and creatively confronting the CCC. I refuse to remain silent about that topic and that’s because I love Burning Man so much. The event and the community have changed my life in so many positive ways and even if this post ends up having no impact on Larry Harvey & Co. I at least know that at a time of crisis in the Burner community I spoke up for the values that are meant to be embodied by Burning Man.

It’s important for me to state here that I do not have a broad spectrum dislike for BMORG. I can only imagine how many wonderful people work in that organization. In this situation my dislike is directed solely at a specific group of people within the Burning Man power structure. I am displeased with those who run or help to run the event in ways that clearly run counter to the stated ethos of the event and the actual ethos of the people who physically and/or creatively build and run Black Rock City.

I want to send out my sincere thanks and respect to the countless people who make Burning Man a reality through their labor, passion, time, money and principles. The truth is that YOU are Burning Man, YOU are Black Rock City.

I want to thank the owner of burners.me for the opportunity to write this post. I also need to thank the Burners who took the time to read and respond to this post before I published it on this site. Dusty hugs,

Sandstorm


From the unofficial Facebook Burning Man group:

“I thought that I’d share this with the group. (Note: If you’re a member of the tl;dr crew then just move along because these are not the droids you are looking for.)

So, yesterday I received an email from the Burning Man Project asking for a monetary donation. After I got some feedback from some fellow burners I sent the below email to the Burning Man Project.

“Steve,

I hope that this finds you well. I’ve taken some time to thoughtfully respond to your fundraising email regarding my potentially donating to the Burning Man Project. As a point of reference, I’ve known about Burning Man since late 1996 and it’s been a huge part of my life over the past 7 plus years. I’ve been burning since ’07 and I’ve been to Black Rock City 6 times in total. Since I’ve started burning the only 2 burns that I’ve missed were in ’09 and ’14, the former by choice and the latter due to my being unable to make the trip.

During each of my burns I’ve volunteered my time to groups such as The Lamplighters, Arctica, Center Camp Cafe, The Temple Guardians and a variety of theme camps and art projects. During that time I’ve made numerous monetary donations to groups such as Black Rock Arts Foundations and Black Rock Solar as well as to individual art projects and the 2013 Temple build. During my time as a burner I’ve repeatedly sold to other people Burning Man tickets that I did not need or could not use and when I did so I sold those tickets at below face value. On 4 occasions I’ve gifted Burning Man tickets to other people. In 2013 I helped half a dozen people I didn’t know acquire the Burning Man tickets they needed and I did so free of charge. I did that because Burning Man meant so much to me and I wanted to use my time and contacts to help other people make it HOME to Black Rock City.

At this point in time I have no desire to contribute a single cent to BMORG or any of it’s affiliated agencies. That is due to the fact the since the end of this year’s burn BMORG has hid from the Burner community as many of it’s members have eloquently and repeatedly voiced their concerns about the commodification of Burning Man via BMORG’s enabling of commodification camps such as Caravansicle, which was apparently run and funded in part by Jim Tananbaum, who currently serves on the Burning Man Board of Directors (BOD). There is ample and credible evidence on the Internet that indicates that various members of BMORG, the Burning Man founders and the Burning Man BOD have been engaged in behavior that runs contrary to Burning Man’s 10 Principles and to BMORG’s mission statement. Huge swaths of the Burner community are deeply concerned by the fact that there seem to be forces within the Burning Man power structure that are willing to commodify the event in the name of personal and organizational profit. In light of this controversy BMORG has maintained a level of radio silence that makes many Burners believe that BMORG is simply buying time to get its story straight about the Commodification Camp Controversy, buying time to let BMORG’s lawyers talk with the lawyers for various Commodification Camps and Burning Man BOD members. From this side of this situation BMORG seems both corrupt and inept beyond all belief. This situation makes the 2012 Ticket Lottery Fiasco seem like a small clerical error on the part of BMORG.

Before the Commodifcation Camp Controversy rose up I was identifying next year as one which I’d spend my summer working on the Temple project. I was planning on realizing a personal on-playa dream of mine, which is a mobile, deep playa pop-up bar. I was also planning on volunteering with the Resto team. While all those ideas are still meaningful to me Burning Man itself is no longer as meaningful to me as it was just 2 1/2 months ago when I watched large chunks of the burn via the official live video feed of the event. My lessened passion for the event is mostly due to my sense that elements within BMORG itself are willing to corrupt the event in the pursuit of profit and power and that BMORG is willing to ignore the concerns of the very community that builds Black Rock City and provides its creative content.

I took the time to write this email because I want you to know that the actions and inactions of various people within BMORG, the Burning Man founders and the Burning Man BOD have made me feel that the Burning Man Project is undeserving of my money. I sincerely wish that wasn’t the case. To be honest, it’s galling to receive a fund raising request from Burning Man at a time when BMORG is continuing to ignore the concerns of the Burner community. Like many other burners, I’m not buying BMORG’s company line that they are listening to the Burner community and (that BMORG) will get back to them as soon as possible. Whether or not my perception of that situation is accurate I have been given no indications that BMORG values the event and the community as much as the community values the event.

The Commodificaton Camp Controversy is not about poor burners versus rich burners; it’s about the fact that certain members of the Burning Man power structure have misused their positions in such a way that they have introduced class warfare into both the event and countless Burners psychological relationships with (both) the event and those who are meant to protect it. Shame on them for doing so. The event and community deserve better than that. Dusty hugs,

David / Sandstorm”


Here’s the email that was sent out by BMOrg:

From: Burning Man Project <steven.young@burningmanproject.org>

Date: Wed, Nov 19, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Subject: Now You Can Gift Burning Man to the World

Remember your first day at Burning Man? Remember how it felt to bring someone to Black Rock City for the first time? While not everyone can be on the playa every year,Burning Man’s year-round programs make the Burning Man experience accessible to all, year-round and across the globe.Burning Man strives to help people live more creative and connected lives year round and around the globe. Our programs in the arts, in civic engagement, and our investment in the leadership of a global network of regional events have inspired millions to embrace a shared value system that promotes thriving artistic endeavors, increased civic involvement, emerging social enterprise and stronger communities.Everything we do is driven by community participation, communal effort and gifting. While the annual event in Black Rock City is paid for by ticket sales, the work we do through our year-round programs depends on your generosity.Your support provides vital resources needed to keep our core programs running, such as our Regional Network which nurtures 240 members in 125 regions across 31 countries. Additionally, our Art Grants Programs provide close to $100,000 in grants for the creation and public exhibition of art in communities around the world and helps artists raise additional funds through fiscal sponsorships. Your generosity also supports our Civic Engagement Programs which provide leadership and funding of community based initiatives through micro grants and volunteer organizing.Together we can turn our growing potential into programs and experiences that will help transform people’s lives throughout the world. We need your support to make it happen. Together we can build a more creative and connected world.

Burning Man Project is a 501(c)(3) organization; all donations to Burning Man Project are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

 

catalyst for creative culture in the world

 

$40 Well Spent

This video made my day today, much more than waking up early like a kid on Christmas Day waiting for Santa to have come…hoping that a theme was finally going to be announced, 7 months before the gates open, only to find that it was a “bazaar” one…and Lottery 2.0 with it.

Happiness, and helping the world, doesn’t come from figuring out ingenious new ways to tax people. Masking new taxes and surcharges and “additional fees as applicable” with a hint that “it’s good for the environment”…well, draw your own conclusions, I’m not even going to go there tonight. I’ll let this video speak for itself.

HappyCowYou want to see 3 people with nothing to do with Burning Man on a stage? Then watch a frikking TED talk on YouTube, you don’t need a $30 million a year dance party and 100+ “Regionals” for that. You want to spread a culture of gifting, compassion, and kindness, and environmental responsibility around the world? You could do worse than the sentiment expressed here. Ain’t no BLM “rangers in action” “we’re Earth Guardians” videos making me cry tonight…

From the comments:

“Anyone who saw how the cows ran into the open today would ask themself, where do you even see something like that these days … this joy of life, the spontaneity, the excitement. How could anyone not have seen that”.

$40 is about the cost of a decent steak in a San Francisco restaurant. Support this cause here . I eat a lot of steaks. My girlfriend is a vegetarian, as are many of my beloved friends and family. Some of whom are Burners. How can I live with myself, then? Am I a hypocrite, accusing others of hypocrisy? Whatever, bra. A wise, magical woman told me once: “cows need a lot of land. If we didn’t have a commercial use for them, the land would be used for other things. Therefore, by eating steaks as a species, we’re actually preserving these massive amounts of land for this animal species, which otherwise would get next to nothing”. I know that militant vegans will debate this statement, but that doesn’t make it wrong. What other animal in the Universe gets so much land? Certainly not elephants, tigers, orangutans, or even humans living along the ancient Silk Road between Bodrum to Chengdu…

To me, the happiness of these animals, and preserving habitat for all animals, is a more worthy cause than “commerce and trade on the Silk Road”. Oh, wait: “we’re going to save the roads in the middle of nowhere with a $40 surcharge” #cowavoidslay #cameltoe #savingtheworld

Maybe gleaning an extra $40 from 35,000 people is really going to make a difference in the world, and I’m just being a hater.

P.S. Where do you think those mushrooms you’re chomping down on the Playa come from? The Silk Road? Or the cows? Or both?

P.P.S. From Wikipedia:

Trade on the Silk Road was a significant factor in the development of the civilizations of China, the Indian subcontinentPersiaEurope and Arabia. It opened long-distance, political and economic interactions between the civilizations.[5] Though silk was certainly the major trade item from China, many other goods were traded, and various technologies, religions and philosophies, as well as the bubonic plague (the “Black Death“), also traveled along the Silk Routes. In addition to economic trade, the Silk Road served as a ways of cultural trade between the networking civilizations.