Message from the CEO

Creative inspiration as it is found in Black Rock City is singular in its persistence. More than twenty years ago, that inspiration leapt the event’s boundaries, carried home by hand and heart into the year-round lives of its participants, and later, picked up and localized by Burners who never set foot in that desert city. Our organization strived to keep up with and report on all the manifestations of that inspiration, and to support them with resources and intercommunication to help them grow. Many of the programs and projects that Burning Man supports today began as responses to requests received back then.

Transitioning to a nonprofit has been like adding rocket fuel to the flame, launching us into a whole new era of Burning Man. Today, Black Rock City is but one node in a global network of participants, collaborations, and organizations. Civic actions, nonprofit partnerships, events, public art, community support efforts, and education initiatives are just some of the current manifestations of this unfolding worldwide culture.

While we still sprint as fast as ever to keep up with this constant creative and social evolution, today we are proud to say that Burning Man is truly a platform for creative participation all over the world.

Marian Goodell
CEO/Chief Engagement Officer
Burning Man

Message from the Chief Transition Officer

Burning Man’s legacy is built upon a volunteer-driven ethos, which invites many voices to be heard and to influence our very nature: our day-to-day operations, our communications and collaborations with others, and even our development in the global arena. It remains imperative that we stay true to these roots so that volunteerism will continue to thrive. I’m pleased that in 2016 we were able to revitalize our commitment to volunteerism and nurture its influence on our growth in the world.

In 2016, we developed an action plan for strengthening our support for volunteers, including improving communication, developing training resources, examining tools and processes, and creating new opportunities for engagement. We created the Volunteer Leadership Council as an independent body, to nourish the spirit of participation and volunteerism. To further anchor us in our mission, we also forged new relationships and deepened others with like-minded institutions, programs and cities. We officially affiliated with Burning Man Netherlands and continued our engagement with The White House’s Nation of Makers initiative. We also further developed our Fellows program and refined our fiscal sponsorship work to support and extend our efforts, at home and abroad.

Harley K. DuBois
Chief Transition Officer
Burning Man

Art and Civic Engagement

We support Art and Civic Engagement programs that matter beyond Black Rock City. Through these ever-evolving efforts and interactions, we can build on the experiences of Black Rock City within a broader human context. Our Art and Civic Engagement programs create meaningful connections all over the world through art and creative experimentation, with a foundation in Communal Effort and Civic Responsibility.

Education & Philosophical Center

Burning Man’s Education programs support our extended community’s efforts to reflect, compile, and share its immeasurable collective knowledge about organizing for community, creativity and civic involvement all around the world. The Philosophical Center explores, shares, and preserves discussions around the philosophies of Burning Man and the Ten Principles, how they apply both in and beyond Black Rock City.

Global Network

If our other programs represent our body of work in the world, the Global Network is that body’s circulatory system. What began as an effort to connect Burners and educate interested newcomers evolved into a sophisticated system of social connection, civic interaction, technology and communication. It is a massive web of networks, a system of collaborative engagement woven with hundreds of sub-groups and interconnected communities all around the world.

The Burning Man Event in Black Rock City

Black Rock City is Burning Man’s ancestral home, rising annually in Nevada for one week and then disappearing without a trace. While Burning Man culture can happen anywhere at any time, the gathering at Black Rock City is still the largest and most widely recognized manifestation of its promise and allure. Equal parts civic experiment, art celebration, and endurance race, it’s a returning testament to our devotion to nurturing the culture that emerges from our shared experience.

Fly Ranch

Fly Ranch is the next leap forward in the grand experiment that is Burning Man. The acquisition of a year-round testbed for Burning Man will open the door to new possibilities, new cultural experiments, and art and innovation projects on a scale never before envisioned. Like Black Rock City, community participation will be essential. Fly Ranch will be a collaborative endeavor requiring a vast array of skills, ideas, and contributions.

Gifting: Engagement and Contributions

Your donations to Burning Man support Black Rock City and projects all over the world: unparalleled works of art, emerging ideas and connections, social exchanges, community restoration and resilience projects, new education initiatives - and, it is assured, a million new creative interactions, yet to make themselves known.

Financial Highlights

While Burning Man has long been committed to transparency, with our transition to nonprofit status, this voluntary commitment becomes a mandate for an even deeper level of financial reporting and auditing. The data included here in our 2016 Annual Report is our most recent fully audited data, which is from 2015. We encourage readers to return to our website in the fall, when we will publish financial information for the 2016 fiscal year.

The Ten Principles

Radical Inclusion

Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.


Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.


In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.

Leaving No Trace

Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.

Radical Self-expression

Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.

Communal Effort

Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.

Civic Responsibility

We value civil society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.

Radical Self-reliance

Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.


Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.


Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.