Now, equipped with $400,000 she won on “Deal or No Deal,” Miller wants to change the lives of those less fortunate than her: “There are people out here who could use my help. I want to take hefty portion of the money” and create a nonprofit that provides low-cost housing for homeless veterans and the elderly.
“Too many people go homeless and there’s something I can do about it. “
‘I convinced myself I had the winning briefcase’
Miller knew that however much money she won, she’d dedicate it to those in need. And she had a feeling she’d win big: “I didn’t really have a strategy because I convinced myself I had the winning briefcase. I almost went across the board, ” choosing cases, like, “one, two, three.”
But after eliminating several high amounts, there were only three options left: a case worth $400,000, a case worth $200 and an offer from the banker worth $167,000. Miller rejected the offer and opted for another case. It was worth $400,000, plus, a new 2018 Chrysler Pacifica.
‘I’m definitely going to be responsible’
Miller isn’t bummed about not winning $1 million, either: “No regrets. I’m extremely grateful.” And if there is one thing she could’ve done differently, she said jokingly, “I would’ve have fist-bumped Howie [Mandel]. I was just too nervous … but I hope I get a second chance to do that one day. “
All in all, though, “I had an amazing experience. The energy was awesome and everybody was supportive. And as for the money, she said, “I’m definitely going to be responsible with it. “
“Growing up in poverty can make you live according to how you think you’re going to survive or how you’re going to get by. But because I had a childhood where I had to grow up fast and be responsible fast, it’s going to help me appreciate this experience like 10 times more.”
‘I just feel like it’s my calling’
Miller wants to open her nonprofit in notoriously pricey places like California, where the median home is worth nearly $550,000 and median rent is more than $2,800. That’s compared with the national median home worth and rents of about $227,800 and $1,700, respectively.
“I want to have a California location, a Florida location, a New York location, you know, places where housing is expensive and it’s hard for people to keep up. I just feel like it’s my calling. “
As for the rest of the money, she plans to put it toward family. “I don’t want to go crazy, like, on a big spending spree. I’m going to keep my job and just, kind of, save it and let it work for us.”
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Deal or No Deal: Toni Miller, $400,000 winner