Habitat for Humanity International and 84 U.S. Habitat affiliates receive transformational $436M gift from MacKenzie Scott

March 22, 2022

Habitat will use gift to address the global housing crisis at scale and advocate for systemic change needed to increase equitable access to affordable housing

ATLANTA AND PORTLAND (March 22, 2022) — Habitat for Humanity International along with 84 U.S. Habitat affiliate organizations, including Habitat for Humanity Portland Region, has received $436 million in unrestricted giving from American author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. This transformational donation will substantially help further Habitat’s vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.

“This incredibly generous gift will allow us to dramatically increase capacity and implement programs that will have a multi-generational impact on communities around the U.S. and our global mission for many years to come,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “With this donation, Habitat is well-positioned to meaningfully advocate for the systemic and societal changes needed to improve equitable access to affordable housing.”

Habitat Portland Region will leverage its gift of $8.5 million to address affordable housing shortage across the Portland Metropolitan Region with a focus on communities historically blocked from economic opportunities due to systemic racism.

“The transformational power of this gift cannot be overstated. This donation highlights the urgency to devote substantial resources toward increasing the development of affordable homeownership opportunities,” said Steve Messinetti, President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Portland Region. “The timing of this gift aligns well with the development of our new five-year strategic plan. We are exploring strategic investments that will bring to scale our home-building and home repair efforts across our region.”

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Over the next three to four years, Habitat for Humanity International will use its $25 million portion of the donation to fundamentally increase the supply of affordable housing and to prioritize advocacy and programmatic efforts that support the millions of individuals increasingly shut out of the housing market. Specifically, the donation will allow Habitat to expand advocacy for policy proposals and legislation that enable millions of people access to affordable housing through its Cost of Home campaign; increase Black homeownership in the U.S. by targeting current systemic barriers through an initiative that will launch this summer; and leverage innovative capital investments that service communities of color.

“This gift gives us the opportunity to increase and improve equity in our work, policies, practices and programs throughout our organization, our affiliated network, but especially in the communities with which we partner,” said Natosha Reid Rice, Habitat’s chief global diversity, equity and inclusion officer. “We look forward to bringing diverse groups of people together to focus on the ways we can address systemic racism and injustices in the housing sector that continue to limit access and harm people of color.”

Funding also will be used to advance research and measurement efforts to identify best practices in areas such as preserving home affordability and housing innovation, and to explore how new and existing programs lead to better outcomes for individuals and families.

Habitat for Humanity International’s donation will broadly support Habitat affiliates across the U.S. through grants that will help them innovate, engage new volunteers and advance Black homeownership, all of which will enable them to serve more families across the country.

Additionally, the unrestricted gifts to Habitat International and the U.S. affiliates support the nonprofit’s global work through the organization’s tithe program, through which U.S. affiliates are expected to contribute a portion of their unrestricted revenue each year in support of Habitat’s global ministry. U.S. Habitat organizations tithed nearly US$14 million to support Habitat’s work around the world last year, and the Tithe International Disasters Fund has already committed $200,000 in support of Habitat’s initial response to refugees fleeing Ukraine.

“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,” Reckford said. “This tremendous gift helps make that work possible.”

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