Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona (Habitat), along with Habitat for Humanity International, and 83 U.S. Habitat affiliate organizations, recently received $436 million in unrestricted giving from American author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. Of that, Habitat Central Arizona received $8.5 million. This amazing donation 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.

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President and CEO, Jason Barlow said, “We’re so grateful to be entrusted with such a generous gift and hope this will inspire others to contribute to Habitat’s ongoing mission as well. The affordable housing shortage is seriously impacting families here in Arizona, and we need other like-minded champions to join us in making a difference in our communities.”

Habitat will use the $8.5M donation to expand its reach and existing programs including new home construction, home repair, and neighborhood revitalization. Currently in Arizona, one in seven households spend half or more of their income on housing. In total, 45% of renters and 20% of homeowners are cost-burdened, paying more than 30% of their income on housing. Housing cost burdens are especially common for those with lower incomes including many Arizona veterans, seniors and children.

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 to affordable housing through its Cost of Home advocacy campaign; increase Black homeownership in the U.S. 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.”

MacKenzie Scott is an American novelist and philanthropist. She is known for her involvement in Amazon.