TAMPA — MacKenzie Scott, an author, philanthropist and ex-wife of Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos, has donated $436 million to Habitat for Humanity, with the Hillsborough County chapter of the nonprofit organization set to receive $7.5 million and the Pinellas County and West Pasco County chapter $11 million.
The two Habitat for Humanity chapters were among 83 local chapters to receive a portion of the unrestricted gift. The Hillsborough County chapter says it's working on a plan to ensure the funds are put to their “highest and best use,” according to a news release.
“Habitat Hillsborough works with local families so they can obtain the dream of homeownership and break the cycle of poverty by providing an affordable mortgage for a sustainable home,” Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County CEO Tina Forcier states in the release. “Doing this allows them to build equity and break the cycle of poverty. In addition, we have seen evidence of how our work is closing the wealth gap in our community. This gift will allow us to continue growing and partnering with more families to help them gain strength, stability and self-reliance through homeownership.”
Mike Sutton, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties, says the gift will go a long way toward offsetting the rising, inflation-driven cost of materials.
“A donation like this is rare and has transformational impact,” Sutton states in a separate news release. “MacKenzie’s generosity and desire to support Habitat for Humanity will allow us to further address the affordable housing crisis and combat the extreme increase in cost of homes. A typical Habitat home is costing us $30,000 more than pre-pandemic, severely impacting our ability to advance and grow our mission. Ms. Scott is joining an amazing community of supporters that invest in our mission every day to ensure we keep moving forward.”
With a net worth of $49 billion, according to Forbes, Scott became the world’s richest woman when she and Bezos divorced in 2019. She has given nearly $9 billion of her fortune to charitable causes since her split with the Amazon impresario.
“Habitat works to break down barriers and bring people together — to tear down obstacles and build a world where everyone, no matter who we are or where we come from, has a decent place to live,” Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford states in the release. “This incredible gift helps make that work possible.”