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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.