My previous posts on plans to convert control of Burning Man from Black Rock City LLC over to a nonprofit entity called The Burning Man Project generated lots of attention, controversy, and page views, but since then there hasn’t been much happening publicly with the effort.
Initially, the plan was to file the paperwork and announce the new nonprofit board members by the end of May, but BRC’s Marian Goodell (who was traveling through Europe with BRC head Larry Harvey) recently told me that it’s been more complicated than anticipated to create the new structure and that the plan now is to file the paperwork and announce the new board members in early August.
Sources say the seven new board members (who will join the LLC’s six board members on the new nonprofit board) have all been selected and the initial crew has been chosen mostly for its fundraising abilities and past support for burner initiatives. Some names have already started to leak out, and the ones I’ve heard reinforce that approach, but I don’t need to steal the Borg’s thunder, so I’ll wait for the official announcement like everyone else but revealing names.
But the criticisms that I’ve aired about the need to get more input and buy-in from the larger burner community on this transition really hasn’t been addressed by the LLC yet, although Larry did tell me back in April that the organization does intend to have some public meetings at some point on how burners are represented in the new nonprofit and how it operates.
Larry has been talking about this conversion to a nonprofit for a couple years now, and that plan is included in the conclusion of my book, The Tribes of Burning Man: How an Experimental City in the Desert is Shaping the New American Counterculture. Given that the event’s future governance structure is now being created behind closed doors, it would seem that now is the time for these public conversations to start happening.
If they aren’t going to happen in a formal process created by the Borg, they can start happening informally in the community. And they will certainly be discussed at some of my upcoming book events, starting July 19 at the Mechanics Institute in San Francisco and continuing through August with 10 scheduled events, including panels at the SF Main Library, Oakland Public Library, and Jewish Community Center, and various bookstore events.
So come on out and join the discussion.