Photo by Jeannie Frey Rhodes

Women with a Cause 2024: Kay Riggs

CAUSE: The Risen Queen Foundation

When Kay Riggs arrived at the battered women’s shelter with her children, she had six weeks to figure out new housing, employment and school enrollment. Alarmed by the lack of resources available for survivors of domestic violence and inspired by the business owners who stepped up to help her, Riggs founded The Risen Queen Foundation in October 2020, five years to the date following her escape from domestic violence.

Centered around motherhood, faith, empowerment, financial security and mental health, the nonprofit is dedicated to providing financial assistance and resources to help survivors find stability. With the help of community partners and fellow business owners, Riggs focuses on skill-building and equipping survivors with the tools and resources necessary to heal and rebuild.

“It’s a long road to recovery,” she says. “It took me two-and-a-half years to stabilize my children, and that may not sound like a long time, but when you’re in it, day after day, trying to heal, be there for your children, keep up the house, and go to work, it feels like a long time.”

After sharing her story with local business owners and community leaders as she rebuilt her life, people stepped up and donated everything from lumber for a new house to furniture.

“It took community leaders and business owners to help restore me, and that influenced me to do the same,” she says.

The organization’s name came to Riggs as she reflected on her arduous journey to healing and stability.

“Beauty came from the ashes, like in the story of the phoenix. And I am very queenish,” she laughs. The organization’s logo features a nod to the legendary phoenix, the mythological creature born of ashes.

“Domestic violence is not a cause that many see,” she says. “I wish there was more support for the root causes of domestic violence and stronger legal protections for victims.”

As the organization continues to flourish, Riggs is gearing up for a slew of speaking engagements and creative fundraising events in 2024.

“I’m focusing on branching out more and spreading awareness of domestic violence from a healed perspective,” she says.