CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott recently donated $436 million to Habitat for Humanity affiliates nationwide, including $18.5 million going to Habitat affiliates in the Charlotte area.
Habitat for Humanity of the Charlotte Region received $13.5 million, with Habitat affiliates in the Catawba Valley and York County receiving $2.5 million each. In total, 84 Habitat affiliates nationwide received part of the $436 million gift.
“MacKenzie Scott’s generosity is truly transformational not only for Habitat Catawba Valley, but also for disrupting the established philanthropy model," Mitzi Gellman, executive director of Habitat Catawba Valley said. "This gift allows Habitat Catawba Valley to act on long-established priorities, like revitalizing neighborhoods, expanding homeownership equity and access, and forging strategic partnerships, while still being responsive to a rapidly changing landscape of affordable housing needs."
Habitat for Humanity announced in a press release Tuesday that the $18.5 million will be used to bolster affordable housing and home repair projects across the area, as well as revitalized underinvested communities historically blocked from economic opportunities due to racial inequities.
“We’re so incredibly grateful to MacKenzie Scott. This donation comes at an incredibly opportunistic time as Habitat Charlotte Region recently completed key strategic initiatives that will guide us over the next several years,” shared Laura Belcher, president and CEO of Habitat Charlotte Region. “We’re excited to use a portion of these funds to complement those strategies, while also considering more long-range investments and resources to advance our work.”
In February, Scott made a $5 million donation to Communities in Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to fight inequality in education. CIS-Charlotte operates in 54 schools in the CMS district.
Scott, who is the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has an estimated net worth of $59 billion, according to Forbes. She remains a private person and doesn't make public comments about her giving, aside from a few Medium blog posts, including a December blog that said she would no longer reveal all of her charitable donations.
WCNC Charlotte is part of seven major media companies and other local institutions producing I Can’t Afford to Live Here, a collaborative reporting project focused on solutions to the affordable housing crisis in Charlotte. It is a project of the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative,ken which is supported by the Local Media Project, an initiative launched by the Solutions Journalism Network with support from the Knight Foundation to strengthen and reinvigorate local media ecosystems. See all of our reporting at charlottejournalism.org.