Updated: October 1, 2022
Habitat for Humanity Maui received a transformational $3.5 million gift from American author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. The gift is part of a larger $436 million gift donated across 85 Habitat affiliate organizations. The other Hawaii recipient, Kauaʻi Habitat received $5.75 million.
Scott was formerly married to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos (who now resides on Maui). Scott reportedly signed The Giving Pledge, a promise by the world’s wealthiest individuals to dedicate the majority of their wealth to charitable causes. She published two novels, The Testing of Luther Albright and Traps, out in 2005 and 2013 respectively, and is a recipient of an American Book Award.
Organization leaders say the unrestricted gift will substantially help further Habitat’s vision of a world where everyone has equitable access to a safe, decent and affordable place to call home.
The donation will be used to advance both Habitat for Humanity Maui and Kauaʻi Habitat’s strategic vision that aims to increase access to affordable housing, keep up with the maintenance of existing housing, and prepare those who strive to achieve homeownership through homeownership education.
“This generous donation will go a long way towards ensuring the sustainability of Habitat for Humanity Maui and our ability to bring more homeownership opportunities to our community,” said Sherri K. Dodson, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity Maui.
“Our affiliates are well-equipped to be stewards of this transformational donation. For Kauaʻi, this gift will accelerate our capacity building in key areas such as land acquisition and development in order to provide much-needed building lots for Kauaʻi,” said Kauaʻi Habitat Executive Director Milani Pimental.
Habitat International will use its $25 million portion of the donation to prioritize advocacy and programmatic efforts designed to dismantle systemic racism in housing. Specifically, the donation will allow Habitat to advocate for policy proposals and legislation that enable millions of people access affordable housing through its Cost of Home advocacy campaign; increase Black homeownership in the US by targeting current systemic barriers through a new initiative that will launch this summer; and leverage innovative capital investments that service communities of color.
“Habitat works to break down barriers and bring people together — to tear down obstacles and build a world where everyone, no matter who we are or where we come from, has a decent place to live,” said Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford. “This incredible gift helps make that work possible.”