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ABOUT

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About Jay

HISTORY

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 an 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 that better the Cause and Philanthropic world. Since 2014 I have focused 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 Causes and helping them solve the world's problems. In 2017 I officially adopted the term Philanthopreneur; (An entrepreneur who focuses on philanthropic business and revenue streams that fund philanthropy).

CAREER

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 and Strategy expert, having been part of over 30 ventures, start-ups, mergers & acquisitions. I am also the founder of Geared2Give, a cutting edge campaign and consulting company for the Cause-driven world. 

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 streamlined structure, modern marketing, and cutting edge revenue generation concepts to help Non-Profits and Causes create new revenue in areas of social enterprise and experiential fund development. My focus is helping to pioneer new ways to help Causes compete in the noisy social-media culture of today. 

PERSONAL

In 2014 at age 6, my oldest son Ayden (now 14) 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 May of 2022, Ayden has had 12 emergent trips to DeVos Children’s Hospital, undergoing 10 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 recently having learned “Bless The Broken Road” with his brother and me. He and his little brother are launching a YouTube channel this year called The BroZoneTV!, where they will stretch their own entrepreneurial wings and benefit various philanthropic causes. 

Ayden's 2yr/younger brother Alec (now 12) is an active, gifted musical and athletic child. At age 12 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.

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