Lafayette Habitat for Humanity, along with Habitat International, and 83 U.S. Habitat affiliate organizations, recently received $436 million in unrestricted giving from American author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.
Of that, Lafayette Habitat received $2.5 million. This transformational 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.
“This astonishing and unexpected act of generosity is having a seismic impact across Habitat’s affiliate network,” says Lafayette Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Melinda Taylor. “The investment made in Lafayette Habitat for Humanity will enable us to sustain and expand on our 30 years of work partnering with local families and creating affordable homeownership opportunities, as well as providing more support for resident-led revitalization initiatives in McComb-Veazey, LaPlace, Oasis and other Northside neighborhoods.”
The shortage of affordable housing is at crisis levels in Acadiana and across the country. In Lafayette, nearly 50% of renters pay more than a third of their monthly income on housing. A minimum wage worker would have to put in 84 hours each week to afford the Fair Market rent for a modest one-bedroom apartment (currently $781), which puts safe, decent housing out of reach for far too many families. Over the next 3-5 years, Lafayette Habitat will invest Scott’s $2.5 million donation to continue to build, preserve, and advocate for affordable homeownership. We believe affordable housing plays a critical role in strong stable communities and will invest and leverage this groundbreaking gift in initiatives that create long-lasting change in Lafayette.
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 to access 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.”
Scott is a novelist but perhaps is best known as being Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos' ex-wife. Following their divorce she was worth billions and has been systematically donating huge chunks of that money to non-profits across the country.