Houston Burners Now has a Non-Profit Structure?
Yes. Houston Burners is organized as a non-profit corporation under the laws of the state of Texas. We are also currently in the process of applying for tax-exempt status with the IRS and state. Learn more on our Organization page.
What Happened to Houston CORE?
All its activities have been moved into the non-profit corporation. The CORE in Houston CORE refers to the Circle of Regional Effigies at Burning Man, and Houston CORE was originally set up to facilitate getting our previous regional effigies out to the playa. Now that the Circle of Regional Effigies has been discontinued, we are retiring the Houston CORE name.
Why Form the Non-Profit Now?
From the beginning of the formation of Houston CORE, the intention was to formalize its efforts into an appropriate business structure for our organization. However, this formalization was slow to realize. For a long while, Houston CORE operated using a DBA name with members of our community doing things personally on behalf of the DBA. While expedient, this has unfairly burdened some of the members of our community with outsized liability and tax exposure.
The desire to purchase and build an art car on behalf of the community was the catalyst to revisit this issue, as well as the impeding need to renew our community warehouse lease. We also now have community members who are knowledgeable in the possible entity types and were able to come together to accomplish all the paperwork and actions necessary to accomplish the formation, as well as continue with the ongoing paperwork and meetings required to manage the business structure.
After careful consideration and discussion, the non-profit corporation structure was chosen as the entity type that best fits our needs. This structure allows us to better manage risk and other business issues, to save on taxes, and eventually to seek additional funding from our broader community.
Who Formed the Non-Profit? Who Is on the Board, and How Were They Selected?
Our Regional Coordinators, along with some of the most active members of our community, came together to form the non-profit. These folks include community members knowledgeable in non-profit and business formation. This group of people forms the initial Board of Directors of the non-profit.
What Does the Board Do?
Literally, the board is doing the same work that individual leaders in community have done in the past, but in a better-organized, more transparent and more accountable way. The creation of this website and the formation of the warehouse committee are two of the most visible efforts, but lots more is happening behind the scenes that we will be rolling out over the next few months.
The board holds weekly meetings and has been steadily working through the backlog of things that need to get done to organize our community’s activities better. This includes revisiting our warehouse lease and insurance needs, thinking through safety and liability issues, developing a better plan-of-use for the community warehouse, organizing the community’s finances and accounting, developing this website, and putting infrastructure into place to support further growth. In addition to taking on work on behalf of the community itself, the board forms committees to address specific needs and projects.
How Can I Be on the Board?
You may be invited to be on the board due to your active contributions to the community, because you have expressed interest in being on it, because the community has recommended you to it, or some combination thereof.
The current makeup will probably remain static until the end of the year while efforts continue to set up our new non-profit. One of the best ways to show your interest in being on the board during that time is to be active in supporting the efforts of our community. Serve on committees. Work on projects. Or, perhaps you have another idea in mind that will benefit our community? Those are always most welcome too.
What Are Our Monthly Recurring Expenses?
Each month, we spend approximately $900 on our Community Warehouse space. This breaks down as $675 in rent, approximately $100 in utilities, approximately $100 in insurance, and approximately $25 in supplies.
Why Do We Ask for Monthly Dues Subscriptions?
Since we have a long-term commitment for $900 in monthly expenditures, we look to balance this with at least $900 in predictable monthly income. The most predictable monthly income we have available to us is from monthly dues subscriptions. Currently, we bring in approximately $200 each month from 8 people. We hope to do better. If everyone signs up for the $23/month dues level, we need approximately 40 people giving to cover our regular monthly expenses.
How Do You Sign Up for Monthly Dues Subscriptions and How Do They Work?
When you Join this website and our organization, we hope you noticed that there were multiple types of membership, each with the same level of access. Many of these different types of membership feature a monthly charge to your credit or debit card. Please note that membership type can be changed or cancelled at any time by visiting My Account.
What About Fundraisers?
Events like our annual Speakeasy fundraiser and our periodic Crawfish Boils make a huge difference. We plan to keep doing these. However, we’d love for the money raised from these to go to projects and events for the community, instead of monthly expenses. This would allow for our organization to become much more financially stable and to do more for our community.
What About One-Time Donations?
We’ll always take these gladly. We understand that every person’s circumstances are different, and perhaps you can’t make a monthly dues commitment right now. To make a one-time donation through Paypal, please use the button below. We’d also be happy to take cash donations at our Weekly Church Night.
What If You’re Not Able to Give Monetarily?
That’s totally okay. You are still very welcome and valued. There are lots of other ways to give: time, expertise, goods, services, and so on. All of our memberships, including the Free Membership, have the same level of access and privileges. We need everyone active and involved to have a strong community, and we hope you’ll be moved to participate in whatever way you can.