MacKenzie Scott's $436 million donation to Habitat for Humanity includes nearly $20 million for Tampa Bay area

MacKenzie Scott has donated $436 million to Habitat for Humanity International and 84 of its U.S. affiliates — the largest publicly disclosed donation from the billionaire philanthropist since she pledged in 2019 to give away the majority of her wealth.

Two Habitat for Humanity organizations in the Tampa Bay area are receiving nearly $20 million from Scott's donation. Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County received $7.5 million, while Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties received $11 million.

Both organizations say they will use Scott's "transformational donation" to address the affordable housing crisis in the Tampa Bay area, noting the money will substantially help further their "vision of a community where everyone has equitable access to a safe, decent, and affordable place to call home."

"MacKenzie’s generosity and desire to support Habitat for Humanity will allow us to further address the affordable housing crisis and combat the extreme increase in cost of home," said Mike Sutton, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties. "A typical Habitat home is costing us $30,000 more than pre-pandemic, severely impacting our ability to advance and grow our mission. Ms. Scott is joining an amazing community of supporters that invest in our mission every day to ensure we keep moving forward."

Scott's $436 million donation handily exceeds the $325 million in donations that Habitat for Humanity International received in its 2020 fiscal year.

FILE-MacKenzie Scott attends the SEAN PENN J/P HRO GALA in 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Greg Doherty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Though Habitat for Humanity is best-known as a home-building nonprofit, the group, founded in 1976, says it has been working for many years on behalf of equity, toward "a world where everyone has a decent place to live."

Natosha Reid Rice, Habitat for Humanity International’s global diversity, equity & inclusion officer, said that receiving the donation from Scott this year amounted to a dream fulfilled.

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Over the past few years, Scott has donated millions of dollars to organizations and communities nationwide. Last month, she made substantial financial contributions of $50 million to the National 4-H Council, a youth-focused nonprofit organization, and a $133.5 million donation to Communities in Schools (CIS), a national organization that works with 3,000 schools nationwide to support at-risk students by providing them with resources and assistance to help them excel in school.

The author’s last three rounds of financial contributions have totaled almost $8.7 billion, with much of the money going towards pandemic relief, colleges and universities, and organizations that serve minority communities. After the police killing of George Floyd, she funded the top recipients of racial equity donations in 27 states.

Scott has tied her motivation to give back, in part, to her concerns about the concentration of vast wealth among a small group of people, writing in a blog post last December that she, along with husband Dan Jewett, and a team of advisors were "attempting to give away a fortune that was enabled by systems in need of change." 

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Last year, Scott signed the Giving Pledge, a commitment developed by Bill and Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffett to get the world’s richest to give a majority of their wealth during their lifetimes or in their wills. She has promised to give her wealth away "until the safe is empty." 

Scott, who is worth about $48 billion according to Forbes, had expressed similar sentiments in her last post in June when she announced that she gave $2.7 billion to charity. She remains a private person and doesn't make public comments about her giving — or anything else — aside from what she writes on her Medium blog posts.

In 2020, she reflected on her philanthropy in a blog post titled "No Dollar Signs This Time," saying that she wouldn’t reveal how much she had given to charity since her last round of donations that same year, to reduce the attention she draws.
Instead, she wrote a reflection on what philanthropy means.

"I’m not including here any amounts of money I’ve donated since my prior posts," Scott wrote in the post. "I want to let each of these incredible teams speak for themselves first if they choose to, with the hope that when they do, media focuses on their contributions instead of mine."