With outposts now in the hundreds, this program of volunteerism and local community building is a global phenomenon like no other. Through involvement in both local independent initiatives and those organized under the auspices of the Project and its support for the Global Network, individuals and groups have brought Burning Man to life year round and all over the world.
Among the highlights from around the Network in 2016:
- The 10th Annual Global Leadership Conference (GLC), “Workshopping the Future: Leaving a Positive Trace” drew 519 participants to San Francisco in Spring 2016 (up about 20% from 2015) and included 129 active or alumni Regional Contacts and other community leaders and collaborators. 30 percent of the attendees participated by presenting or facilitating a session, and 152 attendees participated in the Unconference that was held during the event. The number of global participants served by the leadership gathered at this collaborative learning event is estimated to be over 100,000.
- Europe’s thriving Global Network contingent organized their third European Leadership Summit in February in Barcelona, Spain, bringing together 135 organizers and leaders from 21 countries (up from 100 in 2015); the event also coincided with the Barcelona Maker Faire. Burners Without Borders presented a Civic Ignition Grant to the event hosts [freespace], to help them realize their vision of creating an open space in Barcelona’s Raval neighborhood.
- Leaders from the US Eastern Seaboard convened their first Mid-Atlantic Leadership Conference. 45 leaders representing Burner communities and events from the area gathered in our nation’s capital for this weekend mindshare event, timed to coincide with D.C. Burners’ Catharsis on the Mall.
- Southern Burners organized as well, creating a Southeastern Leadership Burning Man Roundtable near Atlanta, Georgia, convening leadership from 17 different Regional Burns.
- Europe’s 13th Nowhere event received approval from local authorities to increase its attendance cap from 1,500 to 2,000, drawing participants who spoke a total of 27 different languages. For the first time in 13 years the event included fire, since Spanish authorities allowed Nowhere to build and burn an effigy.
- Finnish Burners brought massive art to the playa and held their first-ever Decompression event in Helsinki, Finland.
- Other event locations included Moscow, Japan, Israel, Western Australia, New Zealand, Austria, the Netherlands, Africa, Denmark, and Sweden, in addition to dozens of events and experiences all over North America.
- And finally, for the first time in our organization’s history, we licensed the use of the name “Burning Man” to a Regional group. Burning Man Netherlands (BMNL) will serve as a springboard for their community projects, Regional Events, and civic activation efforts. BMNL functions similarly to other independent entities across the network, but is a little more closely connected to Burning Man Project. We are learning from this experimental affiliation, and look forward to sharing our learnings more broadly in the future.
Burning Man’s Fiscal Sponsorship Program allows Burning Man to apply our 501(c)3 status to facilitate funds for art and civic engagement projects, by allowing qualified affiliates to utilize the benefits of nonprofit status for their own fundraising. Our experience with fiscal sponsorship started more than 10 years ago, when the Black Rock Arts Foundation first achieved nonprofit status, enabling it to extend a fundraising helping hand to dozens of global projects every year. Over the past two years, the Program Services team has been building a fiscal sponsorship program that is self-sustaining and can help projects not only get to Black Rock City, but further the mission of Burning Man all over the world.
Today, not just art, but civic projects, Burners Without Borders initiatives, and fledgling nonprofit organizations are eligible for fiscal sponsorship. In 2016, 14 Black Rock City-bound projects applied for fiscal sponsorship, with a combined fundraising goal of over $480,000. 2017 already shows promise for many more supported creative collaborations in Black Rock City and beyond.