Billionaire MacKenzie Scott donates $436 million for affordable housing in the United States | American News


MacKenzie Scott has donated $436 million to Habitat for Humanity International and 84 of its U.S. affiliates, the billionaire philanthropist’s largest public donation since she pledged in 2019 to donate most of her wealth.

“We couldn’t be more excited to receive this gift at a time when, in some ways, the state of housing affordability is the worst it has been in modern times,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International.

The group received $25 million from Scott and her husband, Dan Jewett, with the remaining $411 million to be split among local affiliates.

Scott’s donation amounts to nearly 8% of the $325 million in donations received by Habitat for Humanity International in its fiscal year 2020.

Reckford said Habitat for Humanity will use Scott’s donation of unrestricted funds to increase the supply of affordable housing, especially in communities of color.

Although they approach the problem in different ways, most local affiliates will pursue projects in their communities, while the international group will focus on broader advocacy and efforts to build homes for working class families.

“Even before Covid, we already had one in seven families paying more than half their income in rent or mortgages,” Reckford said.

The past two years have made this problem even worse, with many people looking to buy bigger homes to ride out the pandemic. Housing scarcity has driven prices up in many markets across the United States, putting homes out of reach for many first-time buyers.

“For low- and middle-income families, who are service workers and didn’t have adequate housing and still have to go to work, it’s been a disaster,” Reckford said.

Scott, who is worth around $48 billion according to Forbes, signed the Giving Pledge, through which many billionaires pledged to donate more than half of their wealth.

Aside from an occasional blog post, the author and philanthropist doesn’t talk about her giving, which topped $8 billion in two years after her divorce from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who was then the person most richest in the world. As part of the divorce settlement, Scott received 4% of Amazon’s stock.

In December, hoping she would reduce the attention she is attracting, Scott declined to announce how much or to whom she had given money. She said she would prefer to let recipients announce their donations, as Habitat for Humanity is expected to do on Tuesday.

Last week, Boys & Girls Clubs of America announced that Scott and 62 local Boys & Girls Clubs had received $281 million. On Monday, the Fortune Society, a New York-based group that helps formerly incarcerated people reintegrate into society, announced that Scott had donated $10 million.

Scott explained in blogs that she and Jewett donated $2.7 billion in the first half of 2021 to “equity-focused nonprofit teams working in areas that have been overlooked.”

Although Habitat for Humanity is best known as a home-building nonprofit, the group, founded in 1976, says it has worked for many years towards “a world where everyone has a decent place to live”. .

Natosha Reid Rice, the group’s global head of diversity, equity and inclusion, said receiving Scott’s donation this year was like a dream come true.

Rice said Scott’s donation would accelerate the timeline for efforts to increase black homeownership and diversify its volunteer base. It will also help the group overcome political and financial barriers that prevent racial minorities from buying homes.

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