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MacKenzie Scott donates $8.5 million to Austin Habitat for Humanity

MacKenzie Scott, philanthropist and ex-wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, donated a total of $436 million to Habitat for Humanity's 84 affiliates across the nation.

AUSTIN, Texas — Habitat for Humanity in Austin just received a big gift. A multi-million dollar gift, in fact. 

Austin Habitat for Humanity received an $8.5 million donation from MacKenzie Scott, philanthropist and ex-wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. 

The gift was a part of a bigger donation, $436 million, to Habitat for Humanity's International office and 84 Habitat affiliates across the nation. 

"This gift is beyond impactful for Austin Habitat for Humanity; it's transformational," said Mason Ayers, board treasurer of Austin Habitat for Humanity, in a news release. "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."

Austin Habitat said it would use the funds to acquire land to build significantly more affordable homes in its service areas of Bastrop, Blanco, Caldwell, Hays and Travis counties.

Austin Habitat's board chair said the gift was the single largest donation the organization has ever received in its 37-year history.

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According to The Associated Press, Scott's gift is the largest publicly disclosed donation from the billionaire philanthropist since she pledged to give away the majority of her wealth in 2019.

The international group received $25 million from Scott and her husband, Dan Jewett, while the remaining $411 million will be distributed in varying amounts among Habitat’s local affiliates. 

Jonathan Reckford, Habitat for Humanity International’s CEO, said Habitat for Humanity will use Scott’s timely donation of unrestricted funds to increase the supply of affordable housing, especially in communities of color.

Since 1985, Austin Habitat has built over 500 affordable homes across Central Texas and founded the nation's first ReStore in 1992.

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