Jacob Burns Film Center: A Strategic Plan

Image of the front of the Burns Film Center

Team: Dennie Palmer Wolf, Thomas Wolf, Jane Culbert

The Jacob Burns Film Center (JBFC) is one of America’s leading nonprofit cultural arts centers dedicated to film, visual literacy, and making film a vibrant part of its community. As the organization transitioned from its founding director to a new leader, as it expanded its campus, and as it approached its 15th birthday, it seemed an appropriate time to conduct a strategic planning process. Working with consultants from WolfBrown, JBFC decided that its staff should carry out much of the research and idea generation for the plan while WolfBrown would coordinate and give guidance to the process. WolfBrown consultants facilitated a number of task forces engaging board, staff, donors, and outside resource people in looking at planning issues in depth. A planning committee ensured that the full board was actively engaged in the year-long process that examined all aspects of programs, facilities, and infrastructure. Staff expertise and effort included development of situation papers on all aspects of JBFC and “best practice” research looking at peer organizations’ activities in a number of key areas. Staff also developed draft goals, strategies, and detailed action steps that were ultimately reviewed and approved by the Board. The final product included financial scenarios as well as timelines for proposed actions.  A follow-up project begun after plan approval is intended to assist with evaluation and program development in the education area.