San Francisco, Calif. — Burning Man is pleased to announce that Theresa Duncan will be joining the nonprofit organization’s leadership team as the Director of Philanthropic Engagement.
In this role, Theresa will lead the development and execution of a fundraising strategy which honors Burning Man’s culture of gifting while supporting its global mission. Theresa will manage the fundraising team and related programs, including annual, major gift and capital campaign initiatives.
Theresa is an expert in fundraising development for environmental and philanthropic causes. She comes to us by way of the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA, where she worked for 13 years, moving up through the organization to become Vice President of Development. Theresa led her team at the Aquarium in securing $12 million in gifts annually and defining the strategy for the Aquarium’s largest capital campaign to date. A pragmatic optimist and lifelong advocate for social justice, the environment, and the arts, Theresa earned her Masters of Business Administration and her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from California State University, Long Beach.
In 2014 and 2015, Theresa camped with Camp Monkey Business, known for their soft rock happy hours, an effervescent “bananaphone” setlist, and unpredictable monkey shenanigans. “The spirit of giving throughout the Burning Man community is abundant and imaginative,” says Theresa. “I am inspired by the possibilities that exist with such a philanthropically engaged community especially as the Burning Man culture extends off-playa to communities across the globe.”
“As calls for Burning Man’s engagement in the world have outpaced our organization’s capacity, we have had to look seriously at our capacity to respond in different ways including philanthropically,” said Burning Man’s Chief Engagement Officer Marian Goodell. “Philanthropy and giving are inherent to Burning Man and we intend to build a department that supports our culture of giving in a wide variety of creative ways.”
This is a key time for the Burning Man organization to develop a flourishing fundraising operation that provides more support for projects in all of our focus areas, including arts, civic engagement, the global network of regional events and community leaders, and the annual event in Black Rock City. We’re excited to support Theresa and her team as they shape and execute a fundraising strategy that honors Burning Man values while bringing in the resources we need to make an impact on a global scale.