MacKenzie Scott, the philanthropist formerly married to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, donated $436 million to Habitat for Humanity International, a global nonprofit that helps residents build and pay for housing.
Of that, $20 million went to one of the organization’s 83 affiliates, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles (Habitat LA), which serves cities in the county including Long Beach.
In the Washington neighborhood, Habitat LA has 10 homes under construction that are slated for completion by June and 36 more that are underway in the area this year, Habitat LA President and CEO Erin Rank said.
Rank said that Scott’s donation would mean that projects in Long Beach will now be expedited.
“Receiving this gift at this time is really going to help us house families more quickly and help us increase our production,” Rank said.
Rank added that she wants to invest a chunk of the gift to ensure that this funding source could become “ongoing” money to Habitat LA to help build housing into the future. Her organization’s investment committee has yet to decide how it will break up the money, and will be conducting a study on how it should be done, Rank said.
The donation is the single largest donation that Habitat LA has received in its 35-year history, and in addition to building new homes, Rank said that other focus areas include repairing existing homes, typically for seniors, and expanding its lending program to individuals who are looking to buy a home but who have historically been blocked from those economic opportunities.
In Long Beach, Rank said the city has “always been an open partner; an easy city for us to work with” due to its affordable housing and ownership opportunities, and “forward-thinking” policies.
“We have always felt that Long Beach was our home city, and we want to make sure that we are always addressing the affordable housing needs of the citizens of Long Beach.”
This hasn’t been the first donation from Scott, who promised in 2019 that she would give away her fortune “until the safe is empty,” benefitting Long Beach. In June, she donated $2.7 billion to various schools and organizations citing work to close wealth gaps and racial disparities, $30 million of which went to Long Beach City College.
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