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Berkeley Haas Case Series

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Burning Man: Moving from a For-Profit to a Nonprofit, the Ultimate Act of Gifting
Walske, Jennifer
Publication date: 1/1/2018, pages 1-26

This case focuses on how Burning Man's leadership intentionally moved from a for-profit limited liability corporation to a nonprofit 501(c)(3), in keeping with a long-term view of the Burning Man community’s best interests. In 31 years, the event grew from two friends in San Francisco to 70,000 participants who travel to a desert transformed into an art-filled temporary city. Following the organization's emphasis on decommodification and gifting, nothing can be bought or sold except for coffee and ice. This case describes the motivations behind the decision to transition to a nonprofit, along with its associated challenges and benefits.
 


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