Director Steven Spielberg has joined the board of the Jacob Burns Film Center, a nonprofit cultural arts organization dedicated to independent film exhibition and promoting 21st-century literacy.
“For the past 10 years our goal has been to transform education to equip children to succeed in the digitally and globally connected 21st century. It is very gratifying that Steven Spielberg not only recognizes the importance of our work but wants to join us in redefining literacy in America,” said Stephen Apkon, founder and executive director of the JBFC, in a statement.
Last month, the JBFC hosted a tribute to Spielberg in tandem with a celebration of the center's 10th anniversary. Spielberg is arguably the JBFC's highest-profile board member; others include Jonathan Demme and author Esmeralda Santiago.
“I have not heard of anything like the Jacob Burns Film Center happening anywhere else in the world,” said Spielberg in a statement. “What makes the JBFC different from every other well-intentioned organization that brings community and film together is its educational outreach to under-resourced schools. They reach so deeply into the community to give kids a chance to find themselves early on and before it’s too late, because that’s all the kids really want. I am thrilled to be on the board and look forward to the work we will do together.”
Located in Pleasantville, NY, the JBFC aims to teach students how to communicate using visual and aural media media while learning collaboration, innovation, problem solving, cross-cultural understanding and risk taking. The center has reached more than 75,000 students in the New York Region.