I was born and raised in western Michigan, and still live in my hometown on the beautiful Lake Michigan coast. As a child, my parents discovered I could play & sing music by ear and encouraged me in the arts. I was a true child of the '80s, with the torn acid-washed jeans, the long hair, and a garage band with my friends. Although accepted to several colleges, I opted to pursue a career in music. It was tough going at first, but I eventually found a niche in songwriting and producing, and eventually took this experience to the business side of the industry as a founder/executive. Throughout my career, I also became a serial entrepreneur finding a passion for startups and generating big ideas. I retired from the entertainment industry after 22 years, and now solely focus on projects and ventures that have a social component. In 2014 I began focusing on building, and consulting on, a wide variety of Cause-based projects and have been a co-founder, consultant, and board member of various cause-focused initiatives. Today, all of my endeavors revolve around profitable ways to have positive impact. In 2017 I officially adopted the term Philanthopreneur; (An entrepreneur who focuses on philanthropic business and revenue streams that fund philanthropy).
I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. From professional musician to studio and label ownership, from artist representation to real estate and marketing startups I have always enjoyed the “game” of business. As the former Founder and Director of Operations for Fifty-Fifty Entertainment I was fortunate to work with Multi-Platinum, Grammy, Emmy, and Oscar-winning talent. As a singer/songwriter and producer I have written over 400 songs and produced over 200 projects. I participated in my first film project in 2015 as a producer, am a regular blog contributor, and I distribute an instructional video series called LifeLessons.
I have serviced hundreds of clients from entertainers like Jay Leno and The Gin Blossoms to major corporations like ACN and ViSalus Sciences, to NPO's like Feeding America, and Make A Wish. I am a Business Model, Strategy, Merchandising, and Marketing expert, having been part of over 30 ventures, start-ups, mergers & acquisitions. I am currently writing a book called Give Better about using new technology, psychology, and methodology to create more efficient and profitable relationships between the For-profit and Non-profit worlds.
Since leaving entertainment in 2014 I have been focused on the Cause world. My ventures, projects, and participation have raised over 25 Million Dollars for various causes. Utilizing the marketing and “for-profit” experience I gained in entertainment, I utilize a modern merchandise & marketing approach, with cutting edge revenue generation concepts to help Businesses & Causes partner in profitable relationships that foster Better Giving and Better Partnership. My focus is helping to pioneer new, profitable ways to help Causes compete in the noisy social-media culture of today.
In 2014 at age 6, my oldest son Ayden (now 15) was diagnosed with Loeys-Dietz Syndrome. It is a rare connective tissue disorder that affects all tissue and systems of the body. Since that time his Mom and I have become "medical parents" with plans, activities, diet, and visits to Ayden's 24 doctors setting the life schedule of the house. More recently in March 2021 through September of 2022, Ayden has had 14 emergent trips to DeVos Children’s Hospital, undergoing 7 open-chest heart surgeries and 2 lung surgeries. He is a fighter like no other and has maintained his humor and positive attitude throughout. Ayden is incredibly intelligent and an avid gamer. He also plays a mean keyboard with his brother and me in our home studio. In August 2022, Ayden and his little brother launched a YouTube channel called The BroZoneTV! where they are stretching their own entrepreneurial wings and benefitting various philanthropic causes.
Ayden's 2yr/younger brother Alec (now 13) is an active, gifted musical and athletic child. At age 13 Alec can shred Eddie VanHalen solos and spends several hours/day practicing and learning music in his small home studio. He is an amazing golfer and also enjoys tennis and skateboarding. To keep things interesting, Alec also has anaphylactic nut allergies, so there is no shortage of medical adventure in the Riggs family. Along with our puppy Mazie, we reside in our beautiful hometown on the coast of Lake Michigan and enjoy golf, travel and sunsets.
MY MISSION: is to create philanthropreneural ventures of value that benefit society, my family, and my stakeholders.