Executive Summary

Inner Fire, Inc. Operative Business Plan
May 2016

 

Background

Mental health challenges in the U.S. have increased dramatically over the past 50 years and now affect more than a quarter of the U.S population in any given year and nearly half of all adults at some time in their lives.  Serious mental health challenges affect more than 18 million Americans annually and are now the leading cause of disability, costing the nation billions in social security disability payments, medical treatment, lost productive output and incarceration.

These mental health challenges afflict families of all income levels, races, religious faiths and ethnic groups.  They impact people of all ages and genders, geographic locales and occupations.

Coincident with the rise in diagnosed mental illness, there has been a pronounced shift in treatment protocols that increasingly rely on intensive use of psychotropic drugs rather than understanding the root causes of mental stresses and directing treatment to these causal issues.

The long-term effects of this shift in treatment are only now becoming apparent, with mounting evidence of serious negative outcomes that include reduced life expectancy, violent behavior, elevated suicide risk, obesity, permanent unemployment and disability, addiction to prescribed substances, and a proliferation of illegal prescription drugs leaking into the streets and schools of our nation.

Psychotropic medications often mask symptoms of illness in the short-term, thereby establishing medical efficacy, but create new and potentially more dangerous impacts in the long-term that have been largely unstudied and unmeasured.  Treatment centers utilizing these medications often see the same patients repeatedly, as relapse follows relapse and permanent dependence upon numbing drugs replaces true healing and productive lives.

Inner Fire

Inner Fire, Inc. has been created to offer an alternative to the current treatment model.  It will offer state of the art detoxification processes, holistic treatment modalities based on a range of proven therapeutic practices, structured individualized care and deep healing in a residential environment that values and reconnects the human being with his/her inner fire, inner creator and purpose in life.

Inner Fire seeks deep healing by addressing not only physical symptoms but also the spiritual pain that underlies these symptoms.  By viewing the human being as a whole, Inner Fire offers a unique therapeutic program that rebalances and proactively engages individuals in their own healing.

Inner Fire grew out of the personal and professional experience of Beatrice Birch and James Taggart.  Both Beatrice and Jim have extensive backgrounds in both therapeutic and administrative aspects of residential treatment facilities.  Beatrice is a leading practitioner of Hauschka Artistic Therapy and has worked throughout the world in treatment facilities and training institutes.  She has applied knowledge from 30 years of professional practice in prisons, inner cities, residential facilities and her own private practice.  Jim has extensive administrative, marketing and fund-raising experience, having been the Executive Director of Spring Lake Ranch, one of the oldest residential treatment centers in the nation, and provided consulting and planning services to many other similar facilities.

They have been joined in bringing Inner Fire to launch by Thomas Kavet, an economist and public policy expert, who has assisted with business, planning, construction and financial matters, Dr. Sandy Reider, a Harvard-trained physician who has practiced in Vermont for the past 42 years and Dr. Nelson Kloster, a Vermont psychiatrist who specializes in addiction and drug-withdrawal treatment.  They are supported by many other therapists, health care professionals and other experienced staff who share their conviction that development of Inner Fire is not simply for the purpose of offering an enhanced treatment option, but for many, a matter of life and death.

Our Challenge

Providing high quality care is labor intensive and demanding work.  Even with great attention to minimizing costs, ongoing operations require substantial revenue through both fees and other sources.  While we eventually hope to fund operations from an endowment that will allow us to serve all, independent of their financial capacity, the development of such an endowment will likely take time.

The current business plan outlines an on-site residential program that relies upon an existing investment in land and administrative facilities by the founders and includes four additional funding needs totaling about $2.2M, of which approximately $520,000 has been raised to date:

  • First, a 36 month development phase, now in its 18th month, that assumes continued substantial unpaid contributions by the founders but covers outside consulting expenditures for critical website and related promotional expenses, and the launching of a comprehensive 7 days/week Day Program, which is currently operational, with a total cost of approximately $150K;
  • Second, funding of approximately $1.1M to build the first phase of the residential facility on land contiguous to the Day Program;
  • Third, funding necessary to cover cumulative projected cash-flow deficits for the first 19 months of operation, until full occupancy results in positive operational cash flows, requiring approximately $220K.  This lattermost need could be served via a low or no interest loan, with projected payback within 2 years, based on positive cash-flows in month 10 and beyond of about $190K per year; and
  • Fourth, funding of approximately $780K for the second phase of the buildings needed for full on-site operation, including additional therapy spaces, performance and assembly space, workshop and administrative spaces.

Our Purpose

Although the operative Inner Fire business plan details programs, markets, financing and operations, the heart of this initiative is about people.  It was motivated by the people in distress we have had the privilege of knowing and working with, some of whom ended their lives amidst a fog of hopelessness, pain and incarceration, and the people with whom we have worked who are skilled, caring, professionals who know there is a better way to achieve deep healing and recovery.  We are committed to creating a place where such healing can occur and expanding this offering to all in need.

Donations may be sent to:  Inner Fire, Inc., Grace Brook Farm, 26, Parker Road, Brookline, Vermont  05345

For further information, please contact Beatrice Birch at:  beatrice@innerfire.us