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Jaffrey’s Monadnock Christian Ministries raising $200K to keep from closing

  • Monadnock Christian Ministries in Jaffrey is in the midst of a major fundraising campaign to help get the nonprofit out of debt. The funds will also help set MCM up for a prosperous future. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Tuesday, October 09, 2018 2:16PM

Monadnock Christian Ministries in Jaffrey is nearing completion of a $200,000 “make-or-break” fundraising campaign.

The funds, coupled with the finalization of the nonprofit’s first five-year strategic plan in decades, aim to make the camp and conference center sustainable for the next 50 years, MCM Executive Director Roy Baldwin told the Ledger-Transcript in a recent interview.

“We are working to course correct, but we need to get our heads above water,” Baldwin said. “What the need is, is to be able to get out of debt.”

Monadnock Christian Ministries, formerly known as Monadnock Bible Conference, is a nonprofit, year round, non-denominational Christian camp, retreat, and conference center located at 257 Dublin Road. The center offers a variety of youth, adult, and family events and is often rented on the weekends and in the summer for retreats and other programs. 

Baldwin said there have been many struggles for Monadnock Christian Ministries over the past decade – including the passing of co-founder Russ Bryant in 2011, flooding this past winter, and some restructuring due to federal laws – but a financially crippling summer caused by losing rental revenue put the center in dire straits.

When he announced the launching of a fundraising campaign on Aug. 25 in a newsletter, Baldwin said MCM was a week away from not being able to make payroll.

“This is that make-it-or-break-it moment for our ministry,” Baldwin wrote. “Like the moment when the Patriots were down 25 points at halftime during Super Bowl LI and came back to win 34-28. And we need your help.”

Having maxed out a $150,000 line of credit and with winter – the center’s least profitable season – closing in, it was determined that funds needed to be raised or the center would have to close its doors for good. 

“It’s been nothing short of a miracle so far,” Baldwin said, of the fundraising efforts. “It’s been an eye-opening experience for us.”

Baldwin said the $200,000 will be used to pay off food vendors from the summer, pay off part of MCM’s line of credit, and to set aside money to get through the winter. 

While the fundraising campaign will help to get MCM out of debt in the short term, Baldwin admits that true sustainability will be impossible without making some tough decisions about the future of the camp and conference center.

Baldwin said MCM will divest its Haiti outreach program, Love in Motion, which sponsors over 500 children in Haiti through short-term missions and food distribution. 

“We are in a place where we can’t support both,” Baldwin said, of the camp and conference center and the Haiti program. “We had to ask ourselves, do we want to be a camp and conference center, or do we want to be a child sponsorship program?”

Having been to Haiti five times and sponsoring a child himself, Baldwin said it was no easy decision to make, but one that will benefit MCM’s mission for years to come. 

“We are no longer in a financial place where we can do the Haiti program well,” Baldwin said. 

Baldwin said MCM will continue to oversee the child sponsorship program until they can find a qualified and honorable organization to take the program over. 

Given that 90 percent of MCM’s revenue currently comes from rental and program fees, Baldwin said there is also a major emphasis moving forward on building a new donor base.

“Many who have given so far are youth and millennials, which is incredible for us,” Baldwin said. “It’s been great to hear some of the stories, knowing that they need us as much as we need them. It’s created a strong connection for us.”

The fundraising campaign has raised more than 92 percent of the $200,000 goal as of Monday afternoon. To donate, go to www.classy.org/campaign/save-camp/c199120 or write a check to PO BOX 70, Jaffrey, NH, 03452. 

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com. He is also on Twitter @nhandyMLT.