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MacKenzie Scott Donates $436 Million to Habitat for Humanity

Scott, 51, the philanthropist and former wife of Inc. founder Jeff Bezos, has a fortune of $54.4 billion. This is her largest gift since joining the Giving Pledge in 2019.


(Bloomberg) -- In her biggest known gift, MacKenzie Scott donated $436 million to Habitat for Humanity as the housing crisis across the U.S. intensifies. 

The gift was disclosed Tuesday in a statement from the Greater San Francisco chapter of the home-building nonprofit, which is among the 84 Habitat affiliates that will share the contribution.

“This incredible act of generosity and investment in our work will make an impact throughout our region for decades to come,” said Maureen Sedonaen, head of Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco. 

Scott, 51, the philanthropist and former wife of Inc. founder Jeff Bezos, has a fortune of $54.4 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. She is single-handedly reshaping nonprofits with her giving, donating to organizations tackling social welfare, education, arts, health and more. 

With a team of consultants and donor-advised fund sponsors, she has proven nimble in her philanthropy, seemingly switching the target of her gifts as needs arise around the country. The vast majority are to domestic causes, though some have gone to internationally focused organizations. Since promising to donate the majority of her wealth via the Giving Pledge in 2019, she has made more than $9 billion in grants. 

‘Never Wavered’

Scott initially told organizations to keep her gifts secret until she made her own announcement in the form of Medium blog posts, where she shared the cumulative amount of all her gifts. Late last year she pivoted, saying it was up to the organizations to share their grants. In her most recent blog post, Scott said her team was working on a website that would launch sometime this year and would include more information about her giving, including a searchable database of her grants. 

“My commitment to sharing information about my own giving has never wavered,” Scott wrote. “I will continue to post updates twice every twelve months or so.”

A spokesperson for Scott didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Last year, a Bloomberg analysis of her giving -- which totaled closer to $8.6 billion at the time -- found more than $1.6 billion had gone to education nonprofits, including historically Black universities. She’s also contributed to social assistance organizations like Goodwill and YMCA. For almost 90% of groups that responded to the Bloomberg survey, Scott’s gift was the largest they’ve ever received, with donations ranging from $750,000 to $60 million. 

Read more: Here’s How Billionaire MacKenzie Scott Is Doling Out Her Fortune

Her gift to Habitat for Humanity will help address historic inequities in homeownership rates in the area around San Francisco, Sedonaen said in the statement. Affordable housing has been a critical issue in Northern California, where wealthy Silicon Valley workers have contributed to skyrocketing home values, pushing out working-class residents, particularly those of color.  

The donation will help build homes for more than 250 working families in San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin, according to the statement.

“Investing in affordable homeownership is a tangible and effective response to California’s housing crisis,” Sedonaen said. “I see every day the impact this has on families enduring overcrowded living conditions or undertaking horrifically long commutes.” 

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