Meet New Board Member Donald Duncan
Though Donald Duncan only joined The Chicago Lighthouse’s Board of Directors in January 2024, he has been aware of and involved with the organization for more than four decades. His brother, Douglas, was deaf and blind and received low vision rehabilitative care and employment placement from The Chicago Lighthouse in the 1980s.
“I know the direct and profound effects The Chicago Lighthouse has on its clients,” Don says. “I saw intently those benefits as defined by one individual, and I knew that it was a place I needed to be involved with.”
Douglas had Retinitis Pigmentosa as a result of Usher’s Syndrome. While his vision had been fading over his life, a car accident in his early twenties detached Douglas’s retina and left him with only a “pinhole” of vision. Douglas became a patient of The Lighthouse’s Low Vision Clinic, where he learned to use some of his residual vision, and later worked with the Job Placement program (with former executive director Jim Kesteloot) to find a job with First Chicago, the city’s then second-largest bank.
“He was a printer operator there for more than 20 years,” Don says. When Douglas’s vision deteriorated to the point where he could no longer safely do the job, he retired and became a participant in The Lighthouse’s Deaf/Blind program.
The Duncan family, including Don and Doug’s parents, Vern and Jean, has supported The Lighthouse steadily since the 1980s and continued to give generously after Doug’s passing in 2005, and Doug himself included us in his estate plans. Don and his wife Cindi, also continued to show their support, attending The Lighthouse’s gala over the years, including one in 2021 that honored his co-worker David Huber and his wife Nancy.
It was David Huber, in fact, that approached Don about joining the Board. “He said, ‘We’re always looking for people who can help,’” Don says. “I was brought up to think about helping others. It’s in my blood.”
Don is hoping to bring his experience in financial planning to The Lighthouse, including offering some informational seminars and events for clients, employees and other interested supporters. “Part of the goals of The Chicago Lighthouse is for people to be self-sufficient, and financial planning is a very important part of that,” he says.
Don Duncan (pictured center) and his family at the holidays.