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Local Habitat receives $1 million; Scott gives international group $436M

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Local Habitat receives $1 million; Scott gives international group $436M

Edisto Habitat for Humanity will receive $1 million from American author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

“We are extremely grateful to have been so blessed with this generous donation for Edisto Habitat for Humanity,” Executive Director Jessica Burgoyne said.

“Words cannot express the extreme gratitude that we have for the endless possibilities that are now within reach for our very rural Habitat community,” she said.

The gift is a portion of the $436 million Scott is providing to Habitat for Humanity International and 83 U.S. Habitat affiliate organizations.

It’s the largest publicly disclosed donation from the billionaire philanthropist since she pledged in 2019 to give away the majority of her wealth, according to the Associated Press.

“We could not be more excited to get the gift at a time when, in some ways, the state of housing affordability is the worst that it has been in modern times,” Jonathan Reckford, Habitat for Humanity International’s CEO, told The AP.

His group received $25 million from Scott and her husband, Dan Jewett, with the remaining $411 million to be distributed among Habitat’s local affiliates.

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. Though they approach the problem in varying 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.

Edisto Habitat says its funds will be used to support its mission and local programs including, but not limited to, promoting new homeownership, cost of home advocacy, disaster preparation and recovery, and maintaining and continuing the Brush with Kindness partnership and aging in place initiative.

The EHFH ministry began its work building affordable housing in Orangeburg in 1991.

In December 2020, Claflin University announced Scott was donating $20 million to the Orangeburg institution. She also gave $4 million to Voorhees College in Denmark.

Scott, who is worth about $48 billion according to Forbes, has signed the Giving Pledge, through which many billionaires have promised to donate more than half their wealth.

Aside from an occasional blog post, Scott doesn’t discuss her donations, which exceeded $8 billion in the past two years after her divorce from Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder, who was then the richest person in the world. As part of the divorce settlement, Scott received 4% of Amazon’s shares.

In December, in hopes that she would reduce the attention she draws, Scott declined to announce how much or to whom she donated money. She said she would prefer to let the recipients announce her gifts.