Thanks to YOU, We’re That Much Closer to Black Rock City!

HOLY WOW, YOU PEOPLE ARE AMAZING. 

I got a call back in July about helping with this community crowdfunding campaign, and when I heard the goal I kinda gulped … $1.5M seemed like an impossibly steep hill to climb. ‘We ain’t gonna make that,’ I thought. 

As you know, Burning Man Project got smacked sideways by COVID, forcing the cancelation of Black Rock City 2020, and putting the future of the event at risk. In order to build a financial bridge to the next Black Rock City, we cut costs and staff, and triaged our operations. But when we needed to go even further, we looked to our community — and we are humbled to report that you’ve responded, demonstrating there’s nothing we can’t do when we work together. 

6,247 Burners generously donated (all or part of) their Burning Man 2020 tickets earlier this year, putting $3M back into the coffer. On top of that, our recently completed Community Campaign saw over 8,500 people donating an average of around $116 each, surpassing our goal before the campaign had even ended. In total, the campaign was shared over 6,000 times and garnered over $1.5M. 

Over 21,000 people contributed nearly $5M to keep Burning Man alive, which is staggering. Bottom line: HOLY WOW, YOU PEOPLE ARE AMAZING

Your donations will help us get closer to a Burning Man 2021 in Black Rock City — not all the way, mind you, there’s still a long way to go and a lot to do — but every bit makes a difference. For our part, we’ll continue to stretch every dollar as far as we can, and spend it to the greatest effect possible. We owe you that much.

If you’d like to dive deeper into the details of our situation, see our Big Picture page, which lays all this out. And we’ll remind you that we’re not there yet. We have a lot more financial bridge to build to get us to Black Rock City 2021 (and we’re trying our damndest to get there) — if you can, please donate … and if you know somebody who can, please share this with them.

Meantime, please know we have such incredible gratitude and appreciation — and, frankly, PRIDE — for YOU and what you’ve done to keep this grand experiment alive in the face of daunting challenges. We stand undaunted, and together, we will weather this dust storm. Black Rock City is not only our home, it provides us with valuable tools and resilience to survive and thrive in a dramatically changing world. It’s more important now than ever, and we can’t wait to get back there with you.

THANK YOU!

Cover photo of The Man by George Post (2019)

About the author: Will Chase

Will Chase is Burning Man's former Minister of Propaganda, working on global communications strategy. He was the editor-in-chief for the Jackrabbit Speaks newsletter and the Burning Man Journal, and content manager for Burning Man’s web properties. He also oversaw the ePlaya BBS and Burning Man’s social media presence. Will first attended Burning Man in 2001. He volunteered as the Operations Manager for the ARTery (Black Rock City’s art HQ) and was on the Burning Man Art Council from 2003-2008. He was Web Team Project Manager and Webmaster from 2004 until he transitioned to the Communications Department in 2009.

19 Comments on “Thanks to YOU, We’re That Much Closer to Black Rock City!

  • Brooke Wallace says:

    Thank you. It will be a most beautiful moment when we can join together again on the playa to support each other and continue the amazing support of the artist who give to us. BM is a movement like no other that reaches far beyond the dusty place we call home, and I could not be thankful enough to those that make it happen. See you in the dust not soon enough

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  • Guy with eyes says:

    You asked for 1.5, got 5 and still cant say that you are doing the event?
    FIRE YOUR EXECUTIVE STAFF
    They are NOT QUALIFIED

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    • There’s no guarantee that the pandemic will be at controllable levels by then.

      Read a news story once in a while, Einstein

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    • Mansoon says:

      I don’t KNOW for sure who this person is, but they seem to post here a LOT (If you’re a person who seems to not want to be reasonable about situations. Seems kinda personal to me), with the same irrational hatred, demanding people be fired, blind obedience to stupid ideas, probably thinks a doctor who talks about “demon sperm” is someone to listen to over the NIH .
      I mean, i know there’s a few malcontents, always, and more than a few in the Burner world. But this seems to be the same person over and over again, switching up names, making false claims (“Decades of helping run something?!? Pish-tosh, unqualified! I should know,; I’ve not run anything this large and complicated but I should know, and I know what constitutes being qualified).
      Often goes by Dusty, I think, here and on the BM page, “A Normal Nevadan,” stuff like that. Switches thing up, I suspect, to make it seem like “We are Legion.” Seems like the kind of mindset that leads to threatening pollworkers over imaginary conspiracies. As far as I can tell, doesn’t much offer even ATTEMPTS at thoughtful, reasoned criticism,

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  • Dusk Rider says:

    Any mention of Covid and possible pandemic protocols or contingencies is conspicuously absent from this message. Other big events are already announcing postponements until 2022.
    How about a clear and concise statement from the BMORG about this. Too much to ask?
    (I won’t even get into the lack of info regarding the pending and questionable BLM use permit)

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  • Scotch says:

    Quit begging for money and move the entire operation to the amazing Fly Ranch. Not only will you save a fortune in rent and salary, you will help a local community. Also, concentrate on the event and drop everything else. Pretty simple just requires sacrifice from the board.

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    • Mansoon says:

      So, you want to move the center of a worldwide cultural effort, at least 100 events that connect the culture and art scene from a world-class city of millions that’s its origin and home for decades and has deep community roots, artists, creative and driven people lots of volunteers and wealthy people willing to help, to a town in the middle of nowhere, which likely doesn’t even have enough housing for 100 people anywhere within hours and very little in the way of internet, break a business lease that could cost millions (cost Twitter $90 million to break their lease. Such leases are typically 10 to 15 years).
      If they want to built enough office space and housing and infrastructure, it could cost them ten millions more, NONE of which they have or could even get a loan for, certainly not now, and being a nonprofit, lenders are more relucatant than a for-profit business.
      Some DO live out there or spend a lot of time out there, the Org donates money to the local fire department and school district and the event generates money and jobs locally that looks like it totals in the millions (the person running the Empire store said he sells about $8,000 in just potato chips to Burners) but, it’s by no means all, and many wouldn’t be willing to move permanently, people with unique talents and experience. Many locals never go, so they would be poor hires, even IF they’re interested and the whole county only has a little over 6,000 people, so the available talent pool isn’t as big as some high schools. And the amount you save in salaries isn’t even close to their biggest expense, not to mention the different tax structure for arts nonprofits there. So, this and many OTHER problems all costing potentially tens of millions of dollars right NOW and maybe talking years right when the cupboards are bare.
      You know, when my mom wanted to insult us, she’s say we were “simple.” As a poor woman who’d worked hard jobs for little pay her whole life, she was incredibly aware that life can be very complicated, and that proposing simple, right-now solutions for complex problems or things that aren’t even problems but benefit you longterm and might be addressed when things stabilize is often just childish. Or worse.
      When you’re skidding towards a cliff, you don’t have the option of going back in time, moving across the country, taking evasive driving lessons from a Hollywood professions, choosing a different car, and then throwing out all your possessions and friends so the car handles better. You just focus on not going over

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  • pearlsnaps says:

    Perhaps we could start putting up bounties on specific needs. e.g. 1.5M for down payment on portos.

    This could be a highly motivating checklist to know what has been paid for and checked off the list on the way to BRC rather than just a top line number.

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  • King jupiter says:

    Why don’t you buy finally a small Playa @ Black Rock Desert ⁉️⁉️⁉️

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  • Lotty says:

    I have just read an article about the BM finances.. Back in 2017 “The organization is also stowing away some savings in its rainy day fund, which now amounts to more than $7 million, about $4 million more than the organization had last year.”
    So by now you guys should have more than enough for a rainy covid days, still you ask for more..
    Just checking the top 10 salaries of your non-profit organization makes my head spin..

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    • Mansoon says:

      I was just talking to a buddy of mine over the weekend about this. He lives in SF and I’ve visited there for extended periods, and the idea that these were “head-spinning salaries” for the Bay Area made us laugh and laugh. Ordinary cops and teachers often make more than some, and rando executives at many business usually do, also. Maybe you think the people running this should live in an alleyway, or maybe a small fishing shack on the Nova Scotia coast To us, it seems like a personal irrational obsession that doesn’t consider the facts or what it’s fair to pay people. I make so little I qualify for Medicaid right off the bat, and I’m not grabbing a crate of croissants to toss at them, as they are marched to ze gallows! to me, that’s as false a standard are thinking everyone who works hard for a living is a grubby peasant

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  • Nigel Sloppy says:

    There has been no serious cost-cutting. There are still 100 full-time employees. There is still an office being rented at $100K/month (maybe discounted) in SF with no one working at it. The salaries were cut by 40%. Big deal. Mine was cut by 100%.

    Yes bman, had a rainy-day fund. They squandered it by keeping 100 employees between May and now doing… I don’t know. WHAT would they be doing without an event?

    Oh yeah! Some of them were doing all those non-event things that bman has been throwing money at these past years – fair enough if you can pay your bills. Not at all kosher when you’re begging hippies and other non-money-focused people for money.

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  • Sam says:

    2021 is going to be for people with a vaccination only. Before u go get a vaccination first.

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    • Mansoon says:

      Unworkable solution. Most governments will be doing everything they can to get people vaccinated, so it should be moot, anyway. And, if you wanted to verify, how you would you go it? Look at a vaccination paper that might be in any one of 50+ languages , interpret it correctly and be sure it’s real? For a greeter with a car or bus full of people and 20,000 people behind? The government is trying to assure there’ll be 300 million Americans vaccinated by summer, and even vaccinations may not be proof against further mutations, and this one is mutating. Think about the flu. They often make a vaccine for the dominant strain, but other’s pop up, Some people don’t generate sufficient immune response or can’t tolerate some vaccines, have been sick before and may be resistant or immune ( CDC thinks the REAL number of infected so far is already above 100 million). If there’s a plan, this ain’t it

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    • someone who had a normal case of covid says:

      I got the natural vaccination. Who is going to give me papers?

      Yet I have the T-Cells and the Antibodies!

      And also prima facia evidence that for me my genetics are not pre-disposed to any of the weird severe affects it has on some humans.

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  • ifellfromthesky says:

    BMORG
    Please stop collecting money and promising hope on an event that is not going to happen in 2121

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    • Mansoon says:

      I know this is going to make me seem like a suckup (hilarious, if you knew my history), but thank you for stoking hope of returning to our home (I’m ignoring the “2121: thing because it’s prob just a typo. Editing SHOULD be implemented, though) and reminding us of the value of participating, gifting, community effort. I’m sure some people think it’s impossible. Them saying so publicly lets me identify people who are doubters and otherwise not to be listened to.

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  • Robinita says:

    Hey Bmorg!! I believe ya’ll are doing the best you can in these tumultuous times. I suspect you want to go home as much as the rest of us and I will continue to help hold space for that to happen as soon as possible!
    Much gratitude for everyone’s efforts. We can do it!
    Love in the Dust

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