When Brad Duke won the $220 million Powerball in 2005, he knew full well most lottery winners have a hard time dealing with instant wealth. So he adopted a philosophy: “Beginning with what will be said about you at your funeral and work backwards from there," is Duke’s motto. He’s living it too.
This week the Duke Family Foundation donated its millionth dollar. Not bad, considering the foundation started as a tax write off. “I didn't know much about philanthropy. I knew you could play in some golf tourneys and the money would go to a good cause. But once we got it funded and involved my family on the board it became important thing to all of us," says Duke.
Golf is a part of the foundation. They host an annual, appropriately named, Windfall Classic tournament. Every cent raised over the past 11 years has been donated to non-profits supporting children and all of the money stays right here in the Treasure Valley. It’s a lesson he learned from his mentor, another multi-millionaire from Micron. “One thing Steve Appleton taught me when we were spending time together is don't be a blip on a graph, somewhere in another state that doesn't even know what you are doing. Keep it local and make a difference," says Duke.
This year, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Idaho received a check for $36,000. The Duke Family Foundation is also investing $100,000 to build a computer lab for the Salvation Army's new Boise campus. Large amounts of money to most, but Duke has a different perspective.
He's still working on his original mission to take his millions and turn it into a billion. "The billion dollar phraseology was something I could understand, everyone could understand. But the goal was to stay on track. To grow the wealth and not lose my way," explains Duke.
Not only has he not lost his way, Brad Duke is helping to create straighter paths for thousands of local children.