In recent years, noted philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott has shown considerable generosity to the nonprofit sector — with millions going to groups in need in the Austin area.
Now, Scott — also well known as the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos — has gifted a whopping $436 million to Habitat for Humanity International and 83 of its U.S. Habitat affiliate organizations. With that donation, Austin Habitat for Humanity has received the sizable amount of $8.5 million — the largest single donation ever for the organization.
"This gift is beyond impactful for Austin Habitat for Humanity; it's transformational. It truly changes what we can achieve and the lives we can impact. We are extraordinarily thankful for MacKenzie Scott's generosity and the sweeping impact of her philanthropy," says Mason Ayers, board treasurer of the Austin organization, in a March 22 release.
According to a release, Austin Habitat for Humanity will use the "game-changer" of a gift to acquire land and build affordable homes throughout the greater Austin metro area, in the counties of Bastrop, Blanco, Caldwell, Hays, and Travis.
Scott’s gift comes at a crucial time for the Austin area, as the metro's median home price has reached its highest level ever, and the city's median home price has skyrocketed to $565,000. Soaring prices have left many Central Texans unable to purchase homes, and even affordable rental options are becoming out of reach, the organization says.
"This generosity will change the lives of families in the Austin area who will now be able to afford their own home," says board chair Ross Sabolick.
In 2020, Scott donated more than $4 billion to U.S. charities, including Meals on Wheels Central Texas, YWCA Greater Austin, and Heart of Texas Goodwill Industries in Killeen. Last year, Forbes named her the World’s Most Powerful Woman.
“I have a disproportionate amount of money to share,” Scott wrote in 2019 when she promised to give away at least half her wealth to charitable causes. “I will keep at it until the safe is empty.”