By Jonathan Borge
Jun 08, 2018 @ 9:00 am
Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

For Destiny’s Child star Michelle Williams, being in one of pop music’s most successful girl groups taught her the importance of supporting other women. “Kelly [Rowland] and Beyoncé are the best to work with. There’s so much respect among us ladies,” she tells us. “I take that experience with me in every situation.”

It’s that same empowering sense of camaraderie that Williams, 37, is bringing this weekend to Cash & Rocket. The non-profit organization and event founded by Julie Brangstrup works to raise funds for causes that positively affect women and children, all over the course of a multi-day road trip experience led by—you guessed it—other women. In other words, Williams is gearing up to join celebrities like Olivia Culpo for Ashley Graham for a four-day drive from San Fransicso to Las Vegas (40 cars, 700 miles) with the goal of raising $1 million. This year marks the first time the event will leave Europe for the U.S.

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“I’m excited about all the women getting together! There’s so much strength on display. I can’t wait for new relationships to form,” Williams says. The excursion kicks off on Friday in San Francisco, and there will be luncheons, dinner parties, cocktail events, and auctions into the weekend, all designed to raise money. This year, proceeds from the event will benefit The Art of Elysium and Shine on Sierra Leone and Sumbandila. In addition, one female driver among the 40-car in joining from Saudi Arabia, which just lifted its ban on women drivers. Ericka Higgins, an activist and former leader of the Black Panther Party, will deliver a speech.

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Williams has taken several road trips before (from San Francisco to L.A., L.A. to Vegas, L.A. to Phoenix, Chicago to St. Louis), so she’s naturally excited. “Recently, my fiancé [Chad Johnson] and I drove from Pittsburgh to Phoenix on his move back out West. I love road trips. It’s a time of reflection, mind renewal, and relaxation for me.”

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What’s funny is that she wasn’t always the most qualified driver, she says, sharing an anecdote from her driver's ed days. “I received my license in ’96. I failed the first test because I did a ‘rolling stop.’ It’s where you ‘stop,’ but you’re kind of still rolling through. The second time I took the driving test, I made sure that my stop was about 30 seconds long so that there was no wonder if I stopped at a stop sign or uncontrolled intersection. I’m crackin’ up thinking about it now!”

Brangstrup, Cash & Rocket's founder, explains that the concept of speeding into a new city with 40 women behind the wheel of separate cars is inspirational to all who see it. (The organization is named after her son Cash and godson Rocket). “By driving, we can reach more potential donors and involve different cities and citizens along our route,” she says. “I also wanted to give our incredible 80 ladies an adventure that they would never forget, and unite them in our efforts to raise awareness and funds.”

Cash & Rocket’s first U.S. tour kicks off June 7 and ends June 10.

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