Everyday, Burners Without Borders transforms communities through innovative disaster relief programs and community initiatives that make a lasting impact. 



WINNERS ANNOUNCED: 2019 BWB Community Micro-Grant Program

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The Burners Without Borders Community Micro-Grant program started in 2008 and has awarded over $245,000 over the course of its existence.  Grants of $100-1,500 are given to projects aimed at creating a positive impact in the world, by leveraging a relatively small amount of money against the mighty power of the community’s capacity to make a difference.

We received 79 submissions this year for the grant cycle from all over the world, addressing a myriad of social issues. The judging process was tough, but in the end, 24 projects were selected. This year’s projects ranged from makerspaces, permaculture and farming, educational workshops, and arts therapy programming. Thank you to all who applied to this years program.

Want to see the LIVE map– Check it out here to find what projects are where!
Do you have an idea for a project in your community? You are invited to apply in Spring 2020. 

Congratulations to the 2019 Burners Without Borders Micro grant Recipients:

Permaculture Action Network, Oakland, CA
Permaculture Action Days are one-day events in which we mobilize people from a concert or cultural event to a day of hands-on action creating regenerative systems and common spaces in our own cities and communities.
Hundreds of people at a time have come out to Permaculture Action Days following concerts and other events to build urban farms, community gardens, public food forests, natural buildings, rainwater catchment systems, greenhouses, and other productive systems in 65 cities across the continent.  These days of community action are always free and host workshops, music, education on sustainability, and shared food alongside hands-on projects.

Ecosystem Restoration Camps, Camp Uthai, Thailand
Uthai Forest aims to establish a food forest on 23 hectares of land while creating a space for people – especially nature-deprived city dwellers – to participate in ecosystem restoration and reforestation. This camp offers people the chance to see and experience a different way of life where we depend on ourselves, nature, and each other instead of external, unsustainable economic models in order to live well.

Uthai Forest is a space for people to take action and participate in restoring ecosystems and building an alternative nature based community. We also aim to engage with and benefit the local farming community by sharing eco-friendly practices and creating alternative jobs to conventional rice cultivation.

Upanuzi Wa Moyo (Heart Expansion), Nakivale Refugee Camp, Uganda
Temple builder and artist Shrine on will return to the Nakivale Refugee Settlement Uganda to work with local artist William Butala.  Activities will include: mosaic with found objects, sculpture with found objects, painting walls on homes and other buildings throughout Nakivale Refugee Settlement and possibly in nearby cities.  We will work with both the camp, as well as the surrounding communities- making sure all ships rise with the tide.

Community Resiliency Project:  Weather Base Station, Butte County, California
Video documentation of the printing and the assembly of the newest version (Feather / LORA based) of the NOAA 3D printed weather station.  Publish the video on youtube as part of assembly instructions to be used by individuals or schools.  The components of the weather station will be given to a school in Butte County to be used to create an art installation project designed by the student body of the school. 
A raspberry pi computer can connect to a display and will show the current weather forecast and the sensor readings from around the school, community and around the world. Through NOAA’s Globe.net students can see what other weather stations are reporting around the world.  NOAA has extensive online and in-classroom teaching materials to further learn about the different aspects of environmental observation.

Ascential Language & Arts School (ALAS), Ometepe, Nicaragua
Ascential Language & Arts School (ALAS) is a bilingual arts education program located in the US and Ometepe Island in Nicaragua. 100% of our funding goes to provide housing/meals & travel expenses for teachers, supplies/materials for classes/students and tools/materials to build our school & teacher housing on Ometepe. ALAS was founded December 2013  and our call is to provide English/Spanish language classes to the communities of Altagracia, Merida, San Jose del Sur, El Congo and San Ramon while using dance, music, art, theater, martial arts and math as ‘carrier’ forms.
ALAS is now recognized as a seasonal, permanent fixture in Nicaragua with solid future prospects. They have two pieces of land secured on the island and over 250 attending students traveling from six villages.  In 2019, the building projects continue to provide jobs for ten local families and the school itself provides residencies for at least three touring, American, professional artists. They will continue training our four local, full scholarship teaching assistants who will be able to provide their own classes for income starting in 2020. 

Play with Music,  Los Angeles USA
Play with Music is a music and tech education program for underserved communities. The curriculum is anchored in collaboration, creation and technology. Students learn to write and produce music by collaborating with professional artists in their city, following a 360 degree methodology teaching critical music, tech & industry skills to foster their future.
Every session, a local pro musician visits to share their process, stories, make music and jam with students. Most importantly, each pro contributes an original music composition to PWM’s sound library. These recordings are the backbone of teaching students production and engineering in music software. Through connecting and collaborating, kids find their voice and creative expression while increasing tech literacy (a barrier hindering so many kids in low-income communities). By program’s end, each student graduate creates their own song in collaboration with artists in their community, which we celebrate with a big showcase party for the community.
Play with Music engages the participation of 10-15 local artists, 2-5 local music teachers, 1-2 videographer/music editors, 3-5 volunteers and a class of 25 students & their families in Watts, Los Angeles. They build bridges between underserved youth in Watts and the creative community in the greater Los Angeles area.

Cinema Paradiso – Community Theatre,  Puerto Rico
“Cinema Paradiso – Cine Comunitario” is an open-air community theater project dating all the way back to 2011 with the dual mission of reclaiming abandoned spaces and connecting local communities to the world of film. After its three-year run in an empty lot on now world-famous Loiza Street in San Juan, it currently calls home two abandoned government buildings repurposed by separate non-profit organizations. In it’s new evolution after the island-wide destruction of hurricane María that still endures to this day, the goal is to make Cinema Paradiso mobile and bring this free community theatre offerings to Puerto Rico’s 78 municipalities and bring back life to desolate town plazas.

Wild Art  South Los Angeles, USA
Wild Art connects underserved youth to nature in the most urban place: South Los Angeles. Through visual arts, sustainability education and creative skill-building the program empowers students to protect nature and improve their local community. Wild Art is a program of RuckusRoots, a nonprofit organization founded in 2010. Wild Art will be offered to about 50-75 youth as a voluntary after school program for high school students at Augustus Hawkins High School in South Los Angeles for 8 weeks this fall (September and November of 2019). (Expected audience is 500.)
Wild Art blends visual arts education from skilled teaching artists with sustainability education from local ecology experts. Students learn about Los Angeles’s vast array of urban wildlife alongside lessons about color theory, drawing, painting & creative reuse. They complete a final project: a painting of a threatened species (e.g.: the monarch butterfly or steelhead trout) and are responsible not only for designing / painting this final project but also for creating the medium upon which it is painted.

A Farm For Peaceful Rebels, Cali, Colombia
This project will establish a globally certified building system that provides engineered steel frames for use in refugee and affordable housing development. Our versatile building system allows for local production of steel framing for use in a variety of local, user-defined projects. The first project will support a small farm in Colombia that is training ex-FARC rebels to become farmers.
Through partnerships with local builders and non-profits, this project will provide a steel frame that will shelter farmers near Cali Colombia. The frame will last for over 50 years, and can be repurposed for a variety of needs. This system can be repeated all over Colombia for a variety of projects including housing of Venezuelan refugees. The equipment to make our frame is also available in over 100 other countries around the world. This project will serve as a global model for providing efficient, effective development, using 100% local resources.

Ananda Jyoti Agriculture School, Begnas, Nepal
This project is to help support a pioneer agriculture school in a remote village in Nepal to promote childhood educate about the importance of sustainable, organic agriculture.  The main mission is to provide opportunities in the village by job creation, education, preserving mountain cultures and traditions while combating migration to cities and abroad.
Throughout Nepal, one can see fading cultures and traditions as young people move from their mountain-village homes to cities and abroad seeking higher education and employment. Situated within eastern culture, western ideology, geographical constraints, political issues and insufficient resources, many Nepalese villagers believe there are few, if any, economic opportunities. While goals of improving and innovating one’s life are supported, Elevate Nepal Inc believes there is a way to provide an income source and life for villagers using resources that are locally sourced.

Contra Viento y Marea Comedor, Tijuana, Mexico
El Comedor is an autonomous, Central American caravan-run kitchen and community space in Tijuana, MX that opened up February 2019 in response to the continuous waves of asylum seekers migrating north and waning international aid efforts. The most basic goal of this project is to provide food, clothing, and encouragement to the many Central American migrants who pass through (and often get trapped in) Tijuana as they flee from the gang-related, economic, political, and environmental violence they are faced with in their home countries. The space serves 300+ free meals a day, all prepared for and by migrantes. There is also a rooftop donation center and vegetable garden.

Establishing GREEN Tribal Schools in Mountain Areas Kurangani Tribal hill villages, Bodinayackanaur Taluka, Theni District, Tamilnadu, India
Less than 1% of tribal children in Tamilnadu have any real opportunity for education in their native language. Exclusion of tribal languages in school education is problematic since a very large number of classrooms throughout the country have a sizable proportion of tribal children. Indigenous languages are denied a place in formal school education, despite constitutional and other policy related provisions which mandate education in indigenous languages, particularly for the linguistic minorities. The main aim of the proposed project is to create a school environment to enhance the knowledge and native languages on teaching methodologies in order to develop the educational process of the children in 5 Tribal villages lies in the southern stretch of Western Ghats hills in Theni District.
Most of the tribal communities have their own languages different from the language spoken in the state where they are located. There are more than 270 such languages. One of the distinguishing features of STs is that the majority of them live in scattered habitations located in interior, remote, and inaccessible hilly and forest areas of the country. Nearly 22 % of tribal habitations have less than 100 population and more than 40 per cent have 100 to less than 300 people, while others have less than 500 people. Though tribes constitute only 8 percent of Indian population, they constitute a majority in several states and union territories and sizeable population in others.

International Rescue Group, Progresso, Yucatan, Mexico
International Rescue Group provides disaster relief and humanitarian aid by boat with volunteer crews. Capt. Ray Thackeray oversees IRG’s Progresso Yucatan Base and the overhaul of a 100′ ketch (vessel). IRG supports multiple charities including Little Footprints Big Steps Orphanage in Les Cayes, Haiti.  They’ve delivered vital supplies to the most under-resourced countries in the western World. With the help of Allison Thompson, an Australian who became Ambassador to Haiti’s Ministry of the Environment, IRG delivered 50 cases of tools to Haiti Communitere, six pallets of medical supplies and 1000 cubic feet of recycled sails to subsistence fishermen for Sails for Sustenance.
As a result of hurricane damage, IRG’s 100′ ketch has two large dents in her  hull that need to be covered with steel plates. The work will be done by local welders in a boat yard in Progresso, Yucatan, in June 2019.  

Project Redonation,  Los Angeles, CA USA
Project Redonation wishes to decrease the landfill by recycling clothing, as well as mend and upcycle clothing or cloth material to benefit those in need of clothing. Our first priority are hospitals who need clothing, next will be those who live in the shelter. We wish to focus in downtown Los Angeles, but once we can gather more clothing donations, we can include every hospital within driving distance, and then every major hospital in every city – perhaps by delivery? That remains to be seen.
I have firsthand experience where my patients were set for discharge from the hospital, but when they came in, their clothing was soiled, destroyed, lost or trashed, thus the volunteer department/social worker/case manager must find clothing suitable for them to discharge in. Upon interviewing these departments, I have found that shoes are also needed, and that they rely on the community for assistance for clothing donations, and they can only accept a few at a time because where they store the clothing can be of limited space. I want to bridge this gap by providing a service to the hospital where they can call Project Redonation with specifications for articles they need, and we can deliver them. Project Redonation aims to receive clothing and shoes from the community, wash/clean them, organize them and deliver them. In the future, We also wish to provide clothing to the shelters and provide educational classes to teenager/adult volunteers re: how to mend and alter clothing.

OCCycling, Polykastro, North Greece
OCCycling transforms the day to day of the refugee community living in camps in North Greece by facilitating their mobility between camps and urban areas in order to have access to basic social services and promote their inclusion.
OCCycling empowers refugees through a community based project, consisting on a bicycle shared mobility system which address the 5km distance between isolated refugee camps and the nearest town or urban area.

The Victorious Project, New Orleans, Louisiana USA
The Victorious Project is a vehicle for confronting the darkness of suicide. We are dedicated to bringing both hope to those who are struggling with suicidal ideation and healing to those who have been impacted by the suicide of loved ones.
The ultimate goal of our project is to provide a safe space for people struggling with suicidal ideations and those impacted by the suicide of loved ones. Community outreach is key to our endeavor through art therapy, hosting float sessions, and opening Victorious as a sanctuary for any who feel the call of the Golden Owl. We are confronting the stigma of suicide on a grassroots level by addressing it openly and honestly.

Refuge for Nations, Detroit, Michigan USA
Refuge for Nations is a social enterprise to empower refugee and immigrant women by creating sewing jobs for them in Detroit.
The goal is to start the sewing unit in 2019, by installing industrial sewing machines, 10 women are involved in the creation and hundreds will be involved in experiencing the final products. 

Youth community art festival and comparsa: “Cierre de Calle”, Ciudad Peronia, Guatemala
Peronia Adolescente is a youth-founded and run Guatemalan grassroots community arts organization that has brought comprehensive education, creative arts and youth leadership to teens and their families in the impoverished community of Ciudad Peronia, Guatemala. For this project, the Peronia Adolescente youth leaders will plan and execute a  “Cierre de Calle” (Shut down the streets public arts festival) and “comparsa” (festival parade) in one of the community’s most neglected neighborhoods. The festival will include circus, stilt and clown performances by the teen leaders, public art, and participatory games for the community’s children and family.
The overall goal of this project is to increase empowerment and civic engagement of Guatemalan teens and provide a creative-arts based public platform for these teens to communicate their ideas, interact and engage with their local community.

Nuestros Parques, Nuestro Espacio, Buenos Aires, Argentina
The civil association of Fuego Austral, which runs the Argentina regional burn, is a registered NGO in Argentina. It is the result of the creative action of the participants that come together with the objective of creating our temporary city,  dedicated to community and art. Participants generate content, not organizers. The organizers and participants are equally fundamental in the creation and development of the city. The Fuego Austral organization wants to share its experience and values of co-creation with the city of Buenos Aires. A big challenge that Buenos Aires has is that many parks are abandoned by the local community and state, especially in poorer neighborhoods. This project consists of finding a park in a low-resource neighborhood and restore it working with the local community, especially families. This will be a participant and community driven design process. The local community will have a hand in every aspect of the design and implementation of this park rehabilitation project.

Seed Libraries Support Climate Resilience, Philippines
GSS is innovative in its audacity to stand up to the industrial agriculture system through empowering smallholder farmers in the Philippines to return to the indigenous practice of growing and saving their own seeds. Providing smallholder farmers with the tools and support needed to relinquish any dependence on large bio-chemical agricultural companies restores sovereignty over their food supply and improves quality of life.
The act of saving seed is as old as human civilization. This knowledge is being lost along with the crop biodiversity it guarantees. Industrialized agriculture and seed conglomerates have capitalized on this trend by patenting modified seed stock for staple/cash crop varieties, then sterilizing them to prevent reproduction of viable seed. Not only are farmers forced to re-purchase new seed each season, they are unable to adapt their seed stock to become more resilient to fluctuations in their regional bio-climate through harvesting and saving the most vigorous seed for replanting.
This project seeks to expand the GSS successful model in Benguet Province to new regions of the Philippines. By launching Seed Library Kits in new partner communities they will be able to start their own community Seed Libraries and ensure their resiliency in the face of climate change. Each Seed Library Kit will include all of the materials needed to launch a Seed Library: 20 packs of starter seeds, seed library physical equipment (storage jars, silica gel packets, ph meters, seed envelopes, seed packet labeling materials etc), seed saving educational books, example seed library rules and logistics etc.

Red Tent Project, Birmingham, Alabama USA
In the U.S., the inability to afford period supplies – referred to as period poverty – keeps 1 out of 5 girls out of school during their monthly cycles. This is a national educational and social crisis. Period poverty is also a major issue internationally– this makes it a critical Global Wave of Service project! The state of Alabama is well known for its poverty and poor educational systems. If you look at the state capital of Alabama, Montgomery, one can see the rampant poverty and its ramifications on education. According to a recent study from Montgomery Public Schools, 70% of their students live in poverty.
Missing school has real effects on the success and future of young girls and teens. Girls are already living in poverty with less academic and economic opportunities, and missing school because they cannot afford period supplies is another major roadblock to success. This project uses a multi prong approach to increase awareness of period poverty and assist young women in overcoming this challenge through direct support.

I AM YOU, Ritsona Refugee Camp, Greece
This project provides informal education to toddlers, primary school children and adults living in a refugee camp in Greece. The camp has limited activities and access to other services and ergo will also provide a space and opportunity for growth and healing.
The education programs overarching aim is to provide education opportunities to co-build more hopeful futures with and for the refugee community.
The camp population is currently 1000. However, by the end of the summer this will have increased to 2,500. All camp residents are welcome to join in these programs. The objectives of this program are to normalize the current childhood experience, and equip children with the tools necessary to process and manage trauma.

MÚCARO for Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is in need of people with creative solutions, progressive ideas, and self sustainable technology. It needs people with long term solutions and positive attitudes, people who can help adjust and keep their economy afloat. The community needs a space to heal and move forward.
Our wise, woody owl with enchanting eyes is coming to its homeland of Puerto Rico to provide healing and inspiration after the 2017 hurricanes. It will be used as a classroom to educate visitors on subjects such as sustainability.

Augmented Reality Bridge, Paradise, CA USA
During the devastating Camp Fire which burned down the town of Paradise, CA in November 2018, the historic Honey Run Bridge was destroyed. Our project will create a publicly-accessible high-definition, full-scale, in situ holographic rendering of the bridge; culminating in an event at the site where the community will be able to view the hologram using the Hololens 2, a smart phone, or a tablet. In addition to the event, the project will be presented to a national audience in a documentary film by filmmaker Tamara Maxey, a director whose previous work has been published on PBS.

BWB is excited to announce the launch of our 11th annual community micro-grant program, and you are invited to apply! To date, BWB has provided over $216K in grants for over 100 projects that have made a positive impact around the world, by leveraging a relatively small amount of money against the mighty power of the community’s capacity to make a difference.


Applications Due: June 3, 2019 at 11:59pm PDT
Grant Awards: $100-$1,500

Link to Online Application: https://forms.gle/bNJezk6LeZJDuXnj6
(If you have any issues with the online form- please email the address below and we’ll send you a simple word document application)

We aspire to be in touch with all of our applicants by July, and to send funds to grant recipients by August of 2019.

Through BWB’s grant program, we are committed to jump-starting creative, civic projects that both grow community and make a positive impact. We know that real change starts at the grassroots level and healthy communities emerge from citizens participating in actively creating the kinds of communities they want to live in. BWB prides itself on accomplishing a lot with very little money by engaging the power of community and innovative problem solving to make a difference.

BWB hasn’t got to where we are at today by creating a lot of restrictive rules. BWB is about giving ourselves permission to evoke the wildest parts of our imaginations to tackle issues we care about. Really, the sky is the limit. You are encouraged to collaborate with members of your community and dream big! What do you care about? How can your community creatively address a particular issue to make a positive impact? What elements can you invite in that will make it engaging and fun?

We suggest you submit a formatted budget. Here is a link to some budget templates– any of which would be appropriate. You can copy any of the budget templates into your own spreadsheet or google form to use.

Suggestions for a quality grant proposal:
– Look at the BWB Grant Impact & Criteria Document to see how we think about grants.
– Reach out to your local Burning Man Regional Contact and ask if they might be an advisor.
– Watch our video “How to write Quality Grants: Burning Man 101
(Starts rough but gets going at (9:00 in)
– Listen to our podcast  “Targeted Grant Writing: with Meta-Regional Jacqui Latendresse

WHAT WE DON’T FUND: Paying salaries or stipends or art projects that lack a community, civic engagement component.  Fundraising Events.  Capital Campaigns.

If you are looking for inspiration to create your own project, check out the 2018 award winners, 2017 award winners2016 award winners to get an idea of the types of project we fund.

In an attempt to help you consider whether or not your project is suitable for our grant program, we’ve provided a list of questions our judges ask when reviewing submissions.  These questions are not hard-lines, but rather touch points and things to consider.


  • Does the project’s mission/goals fit with BWB’s? Is it civic/community service minded (vs. art for art’s sake)?
  • How well does this project leverage volunteer resources and community resources against a relatively small injection of money?
  • Does the project seem reasonable/feasible given the budget, timeframe and volunteers who are available to complete the project?
  • What experience does the project leader have in organizing projects? How much support will they require from BWB to make the project successful?
  • Is this project likely to get funded from a different donor? Is our grant important for this project’s existence?
  • What other funds need to be raised for this project to be successful?
  • Will this particular grant money make a significant impact to the project?
  • Will there be any income from this project? If so, how will the profit be used in service of the community?

Community Engagement and Impact

  • Is the project interactive and participatory? Does it engage the broader community beyond the grant recipients? Does the project bring together a variety of stakeholders or communities?
  • How many people will this project touch and in what way?
  • How will this project affect the community over time? What is the life of the project after the grant has been given and the initial project is completed?
  • Is the community inviting this project and is there a demonstrated need for this project?
  • How will the impacts be measured? What is the quality of the impact vs the quantity?
  • How does this project promote community leadership?
  • Is the execution of the project engaging and fun for volunteers?


  • How does the project engage creative ideas or processes?

Questions? bwbgrants@burningman.org

Privacy Statement:

Your privacy and trust are important to us. Burners Without Borders strives to follow the best practices for data and protection and privacy. We do not share the information you share with us beyond our internal systems, which may include your local regional contact in order to further connect you into the Burning Man Network.

BWB Community Grant Winners 2016- Communitere Nepal

> How to create a Project.