Family lore has it that Frank Dupar Sr. first arrived in Seattle broke in the early 1900s because a thief got to his money the night before while he was hitching a ride in a boxcar.
He was sitting on the sidewalk near the King Street Station with nowhere to go when a man approached him and asked, “What’s the matter, sonny?” Frank told his story, and the man gave him a dime and an upbeat prognosis: “This town is going to be good to you.”
“What an understatement,” said Adrienne Riley, Dupar’s granddaughter and president of the Dupar Foundation.
After his rough start in Seattle, Riley said in an interview at the Foster School’s 2010 Annual Scholarship Breakfast on Nov. 4, Dupar went on to own a plumbing company and then co-found what became Westin Hotels and Resorts as well as several other iconic and highly successful businesses.
The Dupars made a point of giving back to the community that played such an important role in their lives, contributing to important civic projects like the creation of the Seattle Center so the city could host the 1962 World’s Fair. They also felt strongly about contributing to education.
“Since he only went through the 8th grade, education was really important to him,” Riley said.
The Dupar Foundation was established in Frank Dupar Sr.’s name in 1958 and has been contributing to scholarships at the Foster School nearly since the foundation’s inception, Riley said. And, while she has attended the scholarship breakfast for nearly ten years, she said it never gets old.
“To me it is really meaningful to see kids who have a lot going for them and, because of the scholarship, they are able to attend college and do something with their lives,” she said.
This year the Scholarship Breakfast celebrated 338 Foster students receiving scholarships totaling more than $1.8 million.
Riley said she especially appreciates knowing more about the students who have received the Dupar Foundation’s scholarship. “It’s nice to touch your money,” she said.
“This morning I sat with a young man who, after he graduated college, went into the National Guard and went to Iraq where he was in charge of convoy security missions and now here he is in his first year of the MBA program,” she said. “It is inspiring.”