Grundy County Herald

Follow Us On:

Blue Monarch receives matching gift to expand campus

Posted on Saturday, October 5, 2019 at 1:29 pm

Blue Monarch’s fifty-acre campus sits on a beautiful farm in Coffee County. Since 2003, this property has served as a place for healing for almost 800 women and children who were recovering from abuse and addictions. The Christian non-profit organization offers a long-term residential program that addresses a wide spectrum of issues – many of which are generational.
“A lot of the women who come to us were taught to use drugs by a parent or grandparent. Naturally, if everyone in the home is doing it, why not,” describes Susan Binkley, founder and president of Blue Monarch. “When one looks at the trauma they experienced, even as children, it is no surprise the women we serve were drawn to something that would numb them from the pain.”
Blue Monarch is completely funded by private individuals and does not request or receive any government funding. The original property was acquired in 2003, through a bank loan for nearly a million dollars secured by benefactors Madeline and Howell Adams.
“Even though I was a perfect stranger to them with an ambitious plan on paper, they offered to borrow the money and we just had to make the note payments,” Binkley said. “Fortunately, we paid that off completely in 2014, which was a great day!”
Since that time, Blue Monarch has experienced tremendous growth. Through a substantial gift from the Robert and Jacqueline Peters family, the non-profit developed the WINGS Transitional Program for Graduates in 2016, to offer housing to four more families.
“Fortunately, the family agreed with me that the cottages should be extraordinary. That’s why the WINGS Community actually looks like colorful beach houses. No reason it can’t be fun, too,” says Binkley.
This extended opportunity for Blue Monarch graduates proved to be even more successful than anticipated, resulting in a 93 percent success rate since the transitional program began in 2016.
“Following the first year, after a woman has completed our core program, we measure three categories: repeated incarceration, loss of custody or visitation rights with children, and the ability to maintain employment or school. We found that this extended program of accountability, not supervision, allowed a gentler transition into the real world resulting in greater success,” states Binkley.
This year, through a generous anonymous gift, Blue Monarch was able to construct four additional cottages allowing them to now serve eight families in the WINGS Transitional Program for Graduates.
At any given time, the organization has over 200 families on the waiting list. This number has dramatically increased from 50 families in just two years. Because of this fact, Blue Monarch has looked at expanding its campus by purchasing the 58-acre adjacent farm.
“We received a very unexpected, extremely generous challenge grant of $200,000 from a couple that also wishes to remain anonymous,” says Binkley. “They wanted to see us purchase the farm next door so we could serve more families. Thankfully, we were able to raise the matching funds and the closing should happen very soon.”
Blue Monarch can currently serve 19 families, but the expanded campus and proposed structures will allow Blue Monarch to serve 40 families at one time, or 120 individuals with each family having an average of 2 children. The additional land will also provide space for a much-needed multi-purpose building, an updated commercial kitchen for the organization’s rapidly growing granola business (Out of the Blue Granola), a daycare that could also serve the surrounding community, and an equine therapy program.
“There are several as-pects of our program that set us apart. But the primary ones are the intense focus we put on the child’s recovery and the mother’s ability to parent that child effectively,” says Blue Monarch’s founder and president. “That’s the reason we have over 200 families seeking our help. We have no choice but to find a way to serve more.”
Through Blue Monarch’s program, since 2003 over 265 children have been reunited with their mothers who had lost custody.
“This is an exciting new chapter for us,” says Binkley. “We are enormously grateful for what this will mean for many more women and children in the years to come.”
For more information search www.bluemonarch.org or call 931-924-8900.