Reporting for the Collaborative Houston Arts & Performance Society, aka Houston Burners
The Houston Burner Community
Houston Burners is a regional group of burners operating under Collaborative Houston Arts & Performance Society (CHAPS). The organization was established in the state of Texas in 2016, as a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Corporation, and in registered to do business as Houston Burners.
Community involvement has helped fund and maintain a warehouse space to gather and plan our regional burn UnBroken Spring (UBS), train volunteers, hold skill-share workshops, fund and work on art projects for UBS and Burning Man, share meals, and socialize. Our community also participates in additional organizations dedicated to art and Burning Man principles such as Burners Without Borders (BWB), both the Houston and Galveston chapters, Houston Art Collective (HAC), The Mask Factory, ArtX, and that’s just to name a few….
If you have a burner organization in or near the Houston region that you’d like to enlighten us about, or if you’d like to contact Burning Man’s Houston Regional Contacts, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The purpose of this report is to give the community a full and transparent view of the nonprofits activities and associated financials. Thank you to all the community volunteers who prepared this report. But more importantly, thank you to the entire community’s commitments to all the accomplishments of this group as we support the ethos of Burning Man culture in our region and the world.
- WHAT is the organization?
- a Texas nonprofit corporation for charitable and educational purposes
- a federal 501(c)(3) corporation for tax purposes
- WHERE does it exist?
- The greater Houston region
- houstonburners.org (currently being remodeled)
- Houston Burners Facebook Group
- Burning Man’s Houston Regional Web Page
- Burning Man’s Houston Regional Announce List
- WHO is Houston Burners?
- The community
- Burners in the greater Houston region
- The burner curious
- Anyone who wants to participate
- The organizing board is Collaborative Houston Art and Performance Society (CHAPS)
- Facilitating organization that shepherds some activities within the community
- Not a directing board, does not dictate community endeavors
- The board’s registered dba is Houston Burners
- Current board members are posted on our website
- The community
- The nonprofit formed mid 2016
- This report covers all of 2018 & UBS for 2019
- The Mid-2016-2017 Annual Report is available on our website
- WHY is the organization set up this way?
- To achieve Community benefits
- Liability protection for individuals
- Protection from state sales tax (w/some limitations), state franchise tax & federal tax
- Community ownership of physical assets and intellectual property
- Eligibility for some local grant programs for arts organizations
- Nonprofit structure ensures all donations and assets always benefit the community as a whole
- To achieve Community benefits
- HOW did it go?
- That’s what the report is for!
- Please let the following table of contents be your guide…
THE ANNUAL REPORT
This report presents information about the organization’s past so we can collaborate together on our present and future. The intention is to provide details about financials, organizational duties and responsibilities, and areas of interest. Please be aware that there are several elements of this report that will be updated at a later date, noted where possible. For now let’s start by sharing some critical needs and new developments for 2019.
- Community Warehouse-WE NEED A NEW SPACE: Our current space is to be sold very soon!
- Participation- help out, step up, volunteer, bring it! Here are some known areas that need YOU!
- Photo Archivist
- Event Volunteers and Leads
- The 2019 Annual Board Conference (the ABCs) has been a goal for years and we made it happen! It is our hope that as this conference grows, we will be able to invite other regional boards and leads to collaborate on current issues, best practices, and sharing tribal knowledge within our respective communities. This conference was entirely self-funded. Thanks to past and present board members who participated!
- Provide a platform to encourage collaboration and interpersonal cooperation
- Dive deep into community support topics
- Solidify succession planning goals
- Current and past board members tackled a 2 day agenda
- 10 principles focused
- Mike dreamed up a beautiful, artful rendering of our discussions, and we all contributed to its creation!
- Welcome a new tool: Amazon Smile donates passively to Houston Burners through your purchases when you select to support CHAPS! And you can set up Amazon Assistant to make sure you are on smile.amazon.com when using their site. If you’re already shopping, why not use this great tool to redirect a portion of your purchase to support our community at the same time? It’s a free program and though only a tiny portion of every sale is pledged…everyone’s tiny portion can help keep the lights on!
All 2018 and UBS 2019 Financials
Thanks to the community of Houston Burners for memberships, donations, support for UBS and the many volunteer hours given to support all of our efforts. The volunteer hours number in the thousands and are of immeasurable value.
All expenses for the warehouse and the organization’s general and administrative costs in 2018 were covered by our monetary contributions, and we are on track to do the same in 2019. Our regional event, Unbroken Spring, is our principal fundraising opportunity in both years. We also benefited in 2018 from a generous $5000 corporate donation from New York Life, former board member Andrew’s employer. Many thanks to Andrew for making that happen!
Why did we include UBS 2019 in this 2018 annual report? Well the books are closed and so we can! And because people are probably interested, even if the complete 2019 books won’t be available until early next year.
|CHAPS 2018 Summary|
Income Statement w/UBS 2019
|Membership & Fundraising Revenue||$8,051.63||$8,051.63|
|Unbroken Spring Revenue||$26,729.00||$30,756.00||$57,485.00|
|Art Car Revenue||$4,087.51||$4,087.51|
|Community Truck Revenue||$8,511.62||$8,511.62|
|Unbroken Spring Expenses||$18,991.98||$20,983.18||$39,975.16|
|Art Car 2018 Expenses||$4,087.51||$4,087.51|
|Houpla 2018 Expenses||$16,422.72||$16,422.72|
|Community Truck Expenses||$6,317.58||$6,317.58|
|Transfer to Houston Art Collective||$2,606.87||$2,606.87|
|Net Ordinary Income|
|Grand Total Gross Revenue||$62,999.78||$30,756.00||$93,755.78|
|Grand Total Expenses||$59,562.72||$20,983.18||$80,545.90|
HOUSTON BURNERS IRS FILING
As a 501(c)(3) with less than $50,000 in expected revenues, Houston Burners files form 990-N. We have taken an extension on filing the 2018 form and it will be added to this report once it is submitted.
COMMUNITY ACHIEVEMENTS AND GROWTH
- Registration of 1100+ community members on HB’s website houburners.wpengine.com
- Unbroken Spring, the annual Houston-area regional burn
- 420 tickets sold in 2018
- 2019 sales capped at 400 tickets sold to ensure a sustainable population in relation to our volunteer base
- Volunteerism at UBS remains high at close to 50% each year
- Continued support for the community warehouse space hosting 65+ meetings, weekly community gatherings, work days and workshops
- 3rd journey of the redesigned and rebuilt community art car to Burning Man
- Another journey of a community truck to Burning Man 2018
- The spin-off of Houston Art Collective (HAC) into another 501(c)(3) organization in Houston supporting art in the burner-verse
- Supports and participates with Burners Without Borders Houston chapter as it works towards it’s goal of community activation through charitable giving
- Secure transactions of almost $63,000 in 2018 and over $30,000 for UBS 2019
- Sales and income tax savings to the community of about $14,000 in 2018 and UBS 2019
ORGANIZING ORGANIZATION (aka the board)
- The organization of Houston Burners is vested in its all-volunteer board of directors
- 2018 directors: Andrew Lin, Andy Brown (Secretary), Greg Goodman, Heidi Lehto, Kathleen Keahey (President), and Mike Eros
- 2019 directors/current: John Garcia, Heidi Lehto (Secretary, Event Liaison), Kathleen Keahey (Treasurer), Kristin Kring, Kyle Lafkoff, Mike Eros (President), and Sheila Dixon
- Previous directors include: Laurette Canizares (Event Liaison)
- Rules governing the HB Board are the minimum necessary to meet legal requirements for a Texas nonprofit
- Board decisions are generally made by consensus
- Average member tenure as of Dec 2018 was 2.2 years
- A succession plan for current board members was established Dec 2018
- Additional information about Houston Burner’s organization: See FAQ & Bylaws
- Board Member Annual Commitment is renewed annually and includes
- Expected time commitments
- Preparation and participation expectations
- Training commitments
- Strategic planning requirements
- The next recruiting period for new board members is expected to be in the fall of 2019
Houston Burners supports activities that fall into four program areas. Three of these areas are part of the General Fund (GF), and the Self-funded projects are just that.
- Community Warehouse
- Fundraisers and Events
- Financial Sponsorships
- Self-Funded Projects: financially self-contained, may be processed through HB accounting for community tax benefits
Houston Burners General Fund (GF) is designated to manage donations and expenses which support the community warehouse, provides financial scholarships to community projects, and facilitates community events & fundraisers.
Located at 908G Winston St, Houston, TX 77009, our Community Warehouse hosts many of the Weekly church nite gatherings and functions as a workspace for a number of projects in the community. It is the hub of operations for many Houston-area burners and serves as “home” when they’re away from the playa, whether that playa is one of the many Texas regional events, or any of the over 200 regional events around the world, or even the northern Nevada regional.
- In operation since April 2015
- Majority community supported
- Some significant donors in the first years of operation, THANK YOU!
- Currently threatened by rumored sale of property and subsequent loss of lease!
- Entirely Community supported by Houston Burners since February of 2017
- Projects supported by the warehouse during 2018
- Various theme camp projects and storage
- Various burn event preparation, load-ins and load-outs of various trucks
- Houston Burners Art Car
- Unbroken Spring art construction
- Playa Pity Party art construction
- Volunteer and critical staff training
- Weekly church nite community gatherings
- Various other meetups including Town Halls, fundraising events, donation drives, etc
A Warehouse Committee formed in 2017 with the goal of keeping the warehouse activated with projects, clean and organized, and with projects using the warehouse encouraged to help fund the space through monthly donations.
- Past warehouse committee leads have included Dave M and Greg Goodman
- Current warehouse committee leads are Elizabeth Johnson and Eric Denton
- Please visit the Facebook group for those interested in this effort
Website Monthly Pledged Memberships and One-Time Donations
Monthly Pledges through the Houston Burner’s website are recurring, tax-deductible donations that are vital to pay the monthly expenses associated with the Community Warehouse. Registration is possible with or without a pledge commitment, and the registration process itself allows members to agree to the waiver that makes them eligible to participate in events and projects in the warehouse space. Some membership details include:
- Registration of over 1100 community members on HB’s website houburners.wpengine.com
- Currently, 4 people have committed to Monthly Pledges, which in total generates about $90 in income each month. That’s about 9% of our warehouse operating costs.
- If approximately 43 people committed to monthly pledges of $23 it would cover the over $11,000 in Community Warehouse expenses (see below). If you’d like to help out and sign up for a Monthly Pledge, or a one-time donation, please visit our website. Every contribution is appreciated!
Community Warehouse: Financials
In 2018, the warehouse costs were approximately $800 per month. Ongoing with our rental increase effective June of 2018, costs are approximately $960 per month. This breaks down as:
- $775 in rent
- Approximately $30 in utilities
- Approximately $100 in insurance
- Approximately $25 in supplies
- A new allowance of $30 each month to fund breaking bread at 1st of the month church nites
Currently, with about $90 per month promised in monthly pledges, our monthly shortfall is about $870, or $10,440 annually. This is covered primary by revenue in the General Fund generated by Unbroken Spring and supplemented by additional cash donations at church nites and from community members.
A goal for 2019 is to engage enough membership pledges to cover warehouse expenses without tapping the general fund, thus freeing up GF monies for UBS production, art grants, and special projects.
|Community Warehouse 2018 Cash Flow|
|Membership Pledge Revenue||2,956.6||2,956.6|
|Cash Donations Revenue||5,095.0||5,095.0|
|Net Ordinary Income|
|Grand Total Gross Revenue||8,051.6||8,051.6|
|Grand Total Expenses||9,322.1||9,322.1|
Fundraisers and Events
Thank you to everyone who participates in our amazing Wednesday night gatherings! These are free, all-ages events and open to the public. Sometimes tax deductible donations are collected which are included in the cash donations revenue. No ticketed fundraisers were held in 2018.
While church nite is a burner community tradition and in Houston goes back to at least the early 2000’s, we’ve been hosting them at the current warehouse since it opened in 2015. Starting in 2017, the first church nite of the months leading up to Unbroken Spring is dedicated to developing and revealing UBS concepts and activities. Once a month or so, church nite goes on the road and has been hosted by many generous folks who share their homes with us all. Thank you all! In 2019, the community has enjoyed first church nites each month with a focus on breaking bread together, and is now receiving a $30 monthly allowance to fund the yum! Some fun themed church nites have ensued and we’ll share a few of those memories with you here.
There are other weekly gatherings in the Houston region sponsored by other organizations on other days and nights, and we encourage participation in all of them! There are many ways to participate and more burners active in the community equals more building, more learning, more sharing and more Art-ing!
- 9 January, church nite Fish Fry: Burners gathered at the warehouse to enjoy delicious fried fish w/homemade tartar sauce, and talk about the upcoming regional event. Someone brought speakers and set up to DJ and several people participated to keep the fish coming until everyone was happily fed. Attendees ~85
- 13 February, Favorite Things church nite Gift Wrapping: Honoring the gifting principle of our events, attendees were encouraged to bring one of their favorite things for the organizing community member to gift wrap for them. Gifts can bring joy even when it’s your own stuff! Lots of fun was had, and by the end of the night we had wrapped it all: special things, actual gifts, car keys, cigarettes, pretty much anything we could wrap. Attendees ~35
- 6 March, Dip Your Own Corn Dog Fry: When Internet gives you corn dog jokes, make an event about it. Attendees ~120
- 3 April, Martini Bob hosts a MoPho’n Church Night: Martini Bob brought his famous and delicious Pho to feed hungry burners at the warehouse. Attendees ~65
- 10 April, Frito Pie Night: Just like it sounds. And delicious. Attendees ~70
- 17 April, Polycraftory Night Kickoff: Community members organized to start a monthly craft night. Featured a donation of flowers and featured pieces by Joseph Massey from the Museum of Fine Arts Houston’s Biennial Flower Show. Attendees ~45
- April 28: Warehouse Clean Up: Warehouse got a fairly deep clean, down to vacuuming. Volunteers removed two truckloads of unwanted materials from the side yard, replaced the broken refrigerator, mopped the office, rearranged the furniture, and deep cleaned the restroom. Attendees ~15
- 1 May, Build Your Own Mac’n’Cheesy: This was another first Wednesday hit! Contributed items included pulled pork, roasted chicken, roasted poblanos, and so many more wonderful things. Attendees ~45
- 15 May, Polycraftory Glass Etching Skill Share Craft Night: Participants were invited to bring items they’d like to etch or use one of the provided pieces to practice a new skill. Attendees ~35
- 15 June, Polycraftory Headdress Making Class: The first of a two part class on headdress making, focused on base building. Attendees ~5
- 26 June, Sparkle Pony Banana Split Night: A generous burner decided to delight the community with a smorgasbord of ice cream and toppings. Attendees ~50
- 24 July, Costume Sewing Class church nite: Organizers brought sewing machines and shared skills with the community. Participants learned how to make some fun accessories and how to mend damaged items. Attendees ~35
- July 31: Sewing Skills Share: Folks brought items that needed mending and were taught how to perform repairs themselves. Attendees ~30
Unbroken Spring (UBS) is the community’s annual Houston-area regional burn which takes place during the last half of Spring Break. UBS was held for the first time in March of 2016 and completed its 4th consecutive annual event in March 2019.
This event charges for tickets for admission. All profits not reinvested in the event go to the Houston Burner’s General Fund. Ticket purchases are not considered tax deductible donations due to the value received in exchange, and no tax-deductible receipts may be provided for these purchases. However, Houston Burners’ status as a Texas nonprofit corporation generally allows it to avoid collecting sales tax on tickets sold, a direct savings for ticket buyers.
UBS 2018: Fresh
Event Leads: Heidi Lehto & Jared Granberry | Asst. Leads: Forrest Rattray, Jered Risner, & Sy Tran
The theme was Fresh, and UBS took big steps forward in terms of organization, volunteerism, art quantity and quality, and population expansion. There were 420 tickets sold and 376 attendees at the event and about 48% of participants volunteered either before, during or after the event. We also invested in reinforcing roads on the property to ensure safe flow of traffic.
Houston Burners would like to thank all the Unbroken Spring volunteers, including leads, for their time and effort in putting on a very successful event. Thank you, as well, to all the theme camps, artists, art car crews, and participants that helped make Unbroken Spring 2018 such a memorable experience. We saw an increase in artist participation through the Art Grant Tickets and a dynamic effigy that burns with kinetic movement.
UBS 2019: Troll Town
Event Leads: Heidi Lehto & Jered Risner | Asst. Leads: Forrest Rattray & Sheila Dixon
The theme was Troll Town and we decided to maintain the population size from the year before so we could improve our infrastructure and strengthen our volunteer base. With the exception of the land rental for the event, we spent the most money on artwork primarily through funding the effigy, temple, and community art grants.
Unbroken Spring 2018 brought in a net profit of $7,737 and Unbroken Spring 2019 brought in a net profit of $9,772.82. All profits are contributed to the General Fund. Please see these detailed financials for both events.
|Unbroken Spring 2018 & 2019 |
|On Site Cash Sales & Donations||$1,179.0||$881.0|
|Expenses by Department|
|Total Business Department Expenses||$5,441.3||$6,617.7|
|Total Operations Department Expenses||$6,245.8||$4,207.8|
|Total Art Department Expenses||$5,114.7||$5,553.5|
|Total Volunteer Department Expenses||$1,293.0||$2,157.2|
|Total Safety Department Expenses||$896.9||$2,446.8|
|Net Ordinary Income|
|Grand Total Gross Revenue||$26,729.0||$30,756.0|
|Grand Total Expenses||$18,991.9||$20,983.1|
Houston Burners uses money from the General Fund to provide Financial Sponsorships to community projects. Unbroken Spring initiated Art Tickets in 2018, and all proceeds go directly to support art for the event. These sponsorships are granted to these projects to help them cover their costs as they provide gifts and services back to the community.
Financial Sponsorships: Financials
- In 2018, Houston Burners gave a total of $3511 to 11 projects
- 2018 Community Art Grant: David Tyson Moore Playa Pity Party $1230
- 2018 UBS Art Grants: Ariana Ruff: UV Wind Loop $150, Ashley Bambgbala: Serenity Projection $195, Casey Campbell: Forest Resonance $120, Colin Hendee: Light Tower $150, Kathleen Keahey/ArtX: Temple Trip $591, Kevin Ward: Wonder Douche $125, Lauren Baker: Peace Flight $350, Lauren Jones: Kissing Booth $100, Patricio Marin: Wishy Washy $150, Rachel Sauvage: Ash $350
- 2019 UBS Art Grants gave a total of $1500 to 9 projects: Ariana Ruff: $163, Caitlyn Bossert $200, Eduardo Mendoza $170, Ginger Major $180, Jared Granberry $54, Kristin Kring $333, Richard Rogers $50, Sarah Kirby $100, Will Sanders $250
- Since inception, Houston Burners has given $7695.58 in financial sponsorships to community projects
The Houston Burners’ General Fund (GF) is used to pay for all the general and administrative expenses for Houston Burners, along with miscellaneous donations and expenses that aren’t attributed to major project areas. The GF is primarily funded by the profits from Fundraisers and Events, with funds then used to provide Financial Sponsorships and help support the Community Warehouse.
HB creates sub-accounts to give projects access to only their funds, and the independence to use them to their benefit, while ensuring no unnecessary access to the rest of the organization’s resources. Only two CHAPS officers have access to the main account. To ensure transparency, no single person ever has sole access to any of the organization’s resources.
- Houston Burners GF housed in HB Chase Bank Business account
- Current officers/Signatories: Kathleen and Mike
- 2018 officers/Signatories: Andy and Kathleen
- 2018 Sub-accounts for projects where project leads have access to dedicated funds include
- Signators: Heidi, UBS Co-Coordinator and Sheila, Business Lead
- Account expected to close the books on 2019 event end of May 2019
- Playa Pity Party (PPP)
- Signator: Dave M, PPP Lead
- Account converted from previous BWB account in August 2018
- Burners Without Borders (BWB)
- Signator: Not used at this time
- Zero transactions recorded in 2018
- Account converted to PPP in August 2018
One of the biggest changes in Houston Burners at the end of 2018 is the spin-off of Houston Art Collective (HAC), another local 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. As a result, the initial list of self-funded projects are a part of that new organization for 2019. An advantage of this is that Houston Burners can remain an expected income level below the $50,000 threshold that carries with it increased and expensive tax filing and accounting procedures.
Houston Burners’ self-funded projects in 2018 that are housed in HAC for 2019
Remaining self-funded projects from 2018 and ongoing
Self-funded projects are housed within Houston Burners, and
- Utilize HB liability and tax advantages
- Raise their own funds for all expenses with no support from the HB General Fund
- Are reviewed annually for renewal
- Projects may apply for, and be granted financial sponsorships (see Financial Sponsorships heading) through various HB grant programs
- Grants are not guaranteed
- Projects may not rely on grants to break even
Houpla Theme Camp
Houpla, created in 2017 with the goal of making it easier for Houston-area community members to attend their first Burning Man in Nevada, enjoyed its 3rd year as a placed theme camp at the event. Led by Andy Brown, the camp also hosted the Houston Burners Art Car and the Houston Burning Man Community Truck.
Houpla camp dues in 2018 were $295 with $100 deposit. The full deposit was available for return with some folks electing to donate it back to the camp.
Houston Burners Art Car
The Houston Burners Art Car is a community arts education effort allowing members of the community craft, building and mechanical skills.
- Conceived to be redesigned annually to reflect the current year’s Burning Man art theme
- In 2018 participated in the Houston Unbroken Spring, Art Car Parade, and it’s 3rd Burning Man
- Theme: I, Robot generated the “Come On Baby Lick My Battery” featuring a 9-volt battery car
- Tony Marban, Project Lead, and Mason Hill, Transport Lead
Houston Burning Man Community Truck
There is a long tradition of community trucks carrying gear for participants out to Burning Man’s northern Nevada regional event every year from many Texas communities. One of the current trucks from Houston ran for its 3rd year in 2018 operating as a self-funded project under the Houston Burners nonprofit umbrella, led by Mason Hill.
The truck project was able to lower costs to $7/cubic foot for footlockers and bikes and $8/cubic foot for bulk items.
Self-funded Projects: Financials
Below are the financial reports for closing projects as of 07/15/2019 which are subject to change after a final review is completed.
|ART CAR _____|
|Art Car Revenue||$6,126.5||$3,005.9||$4,087.5||$13,220.0|
|Art Car Expenses||$6,126.5||$3,005.9||$4,087.5||$13,220.0|
|NET ORDINARY INCOME|
|Grand Total Gross Revenue||$6,126.5||$3,005.9||$4,087.5||$13,220.0|
|Grand Total Expenses||$6,126.5||$3,005.9||$4,087.5||$13,220.0|
|NET ORDINARY INCOME|
|Grand Total Gross Revenue||$0.0||$10,000.0||$15,620.0||$25,620.0|
|Grand Total Expenses||$0.0||$6,653.4||$16,422.7||$23,076.1|
|COMMUNITY TRUCK __|
|Community Truck Revenue||$0.0||$4,469.1||$8,511.6||$12,980.7|
|Community Truck Expenses||$0.0||$6,603.1||$6,317.5||$12,920.7|
|NET ORDINARY INCOME|
|Grand Total Gross Revenue||$0.0||$4,469.1||$8,511.6||$12,980.7|
|Grand Total Expenses||$0.0||$6,603.1||$6,317.5||$12,920.7|
Grand Totals for Closing Projects
|All Years||Grand Total|
|Closing Projects Gross Profit||$51,820.77|
|Closing Projects Total Expense||$49,216.85|
|NET ORDINARY INCOME|
|Grand Total Gross Revenue||$51,820.77|
|Grand Total Expenses||$49,216.85|
|Summary Balance Compared to Cash Withdrawals|
|Grand Total – Projects Closing Balance||$2,603.92|
|Grand Total – Checks Paid||$2,606.87|
|Checks Paid Detail|
|Houston Art Collective||$2,406.87|
|Houston Art Collective||$200.00|
Burners Without Borders Houston
A Houston chapter of Burners Without Burners (BWB) formed in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. BWB promotes activities that support our community’s inherent capacity to thrive by encouraging innovative approaches to disaster relief and grassroots initiatives that make a positive impact. Thank you to the many supporters that have backed this program with their hours and their dollars.
- Current leads for BWB include Anya Frolov, Aryeh Ohayon, Lauren Jonze and Sarah Franke
- Former leads include Emily Bruchmiller
In 2018, BWB held a fundraiser to provide supplies & care packages for the Lumbertown Fire Department in North Carolina in response to wildfires in the area. The $250 raised sponsored a Thanksgiving holiday meal & a Thanksgiving blanket for a family in the affected area.
QUESTIONS AND FEEDBACK
Houston Burners is happy to answer any questions the community has about the Annual Report and its contents. Questions can be submitted to email@example.com.