MasterMind, Fashion Denver founder and entrepreneur Brandi Shigley is now adding international philanthropist to her resume. Shigley and the four other members of #CleanWaterPhilippines will leave Denver for the Philippines on March 22, with a goal of installing fifty clean water filters — and the team needs your help raising $15,000 to to help meet the trip's goal.
But beyond the clean-water mission, this trip has a second purpose: to take Sammy Taggett, another local entertainer/entrepreneur, and Shigley back to their homeland. Both Taggett and Shigley were adopted out of Filipino orphanages; Reinhardt and Coates are filmmakers and do-gooders and are spearheading the #CleanWaterPhilippines project. "We are trying to live how the community lives," says Shigley. "We have a dual purpose: to find our roots, and to bring clean water to the Philippines."
Reinhardt and Coates approached Taggett about going to the Philippines this year after successfully carrying out a similar project in Haiti, and Taggett then brought Shigley on board. "I was born Baby Girl Ignacio Gonzales," says Shigley. "I was abandoned at a hospital and lived in an orphanage and then was fostered by a loving foster mother before I came to Denver. My parents adopted me when I was sixteen months old." The fifth member of #CleanWaterPhilippines is Norm Villapando, who will handle the logistics of the trip.
Brandi Shigley is the baby in the middle, being cared for by Filipino workers at an adoption agency.
Photo courtesy of Brandi Shigley
"I'm excited to see where I'm from. Going back to the Philippines has been a dream of mine for many years, and to get the opportunity to go back is amazing," says Shigley. "Sammy T and I are going back to our roots. The Philippines is where we were born, before we were adopted and left the island. We are going to find our genetics, our roots, our DNA, which are on that island.
"I've always had a book of things before I was adopted. It has my old baby pictures and my birth certificate. Despite being in an orphanage, I look happy, and so do the women that cared for me," Shigley adds.
Baby Shigley on her way out of the Philippines with her escort, en route to meet her new family in Denver.
photo courtesy of Brandi Shigley
"We all share the common story of roots and being able to be of service to people that need help," she says. "We take simple things for granted here, like getting water from the sink. With your money, we can buy more water filters. You can make a positive change with filters and by donating just five bucks.
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"It's going to be a fulfilling trip," she concludes. "Everyone on the team is a dreamer and a doer and all about making a positive impact in the world. What I'm realizing is that when you can surround yourself with those types of people, you really can change the world. When you align yourself with people that share the same lifestyle and goals as you, you can make a positive change."
To donate to #CleanWaterPhilippines, click here. And do it soon: the Indie-Go-Go crowd-funding page will close at midnight on March 15.