$6.75m Mackenzie Scott Gift Boosts Bay Area Affordable Homebuilder

Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco to benefit from substantial gift by SF-born philanthropist

New Homes

A Bay Area nonprofit's homebuilding mission has been significantly boosted thanks to a $6.75 million 'transformational' gift from philanthropist Mackenzie Scott - part of a blockbuster $436 million donation announced today that will expand access to affordable homeownership across the U.S. Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco, the recipient, has embarked on a drive to build homes and create a path to homeownership for more than 250 working families in San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin. It says the money will be used in all three counties to support the entirety of its work.

The donation takes the nonprofit past the halfway point in its $100m Building Families a Future comprehensive campaign - a crucial milestone, it says, and one which will propel its fundraising to further success.

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The organization was selected as one of 84 in Habitat for Humanity's nationwide network to be the recipient of a grant from Ms Scott, which totals nearly half a billion dollars. San Francisco-born Scott is a signatory to the Giving Pledge and has committed to give at least half of her wealth to charity.

"This incredible act of generosity and investment in our work will make an impact throughout our region for decades to come," said Maureen Sedonaen, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco. "We will work side-by-side with hundreds of families and thousands of volunteers to build homes and start these families on their lifechanging homeownership journey."

"Mackenzie Scott's transformational gift will strengthen our ability to address historic inequities in homeownership rates in our region and allow more local households - and households of color in particular - to benefit from homeownership's unique ability to support families and communities."

"Investing in affordable homeownership is a tangible and effective response to California's housing crisis. I see every day the impact this has on families enduring overcrowded living conditions or undertaking horrifically long commutes."

The self-help homebuilder's construction portfolio reflects the varied nature of its service area, and ranges from townhomes in Novato to transit-oriented condominiums in Daly City. Its current development pipeline of 190 homes includes 33 units in Redwood City and 18 units in Menlo Park.

Habitat homeowners benefit from a $0 down, 0% interest mortgage and have housing payments capped at no more than 30% of household income. In lieu of a down payment, prospective owners invest a minimum of 500 hours of 'sweat equity' helping to build their own homes alongside individual, community group and corporate volunteers.

"This donation offers us an unprecedented opportunity to invest in building more affordable housing that provides long-term security, is focused on families, and has impact across generations," said Hilary Billings, Chair of the Board of Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco.

"Ms Scott's gift represents a huge vote of confidence in Habitat Greater San Francisco - not only in our homebuilding and homeownership mission, but also in our strong leadership and rigorous governance and oversight which are an essential part of our ability to serve our community now and for decades to come.

"I invite the Bay Area community to join Ms Scott in investing in affordable homeownership through supporting our $100 million Building Families a Future campaign."

A cornerstone of its work, says Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco, is advocacy for more affordable homeownership. It engages with lawmakers locally and in Sacramento to remove barriers to construction and invest in more homeownership programs across California. 

The organization has been working throughout the pandemic and has 20 homes in Redwood City and 6 homes in Daly City on the verge of completion. A further 8 homes are in progress in San Francisco.

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For more information, please contact Anthony Singer at 415-278-1843 or asinger@HabitatGSF.org

B-roll of Habitat Greater San Francisco homes in San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin, plus footage of homeowners and volunteers building homes on our construction sites, is available here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/78zibksa2p3i9d8/BRoll%20Footage%20March%2022.mp4?dl=0

A high definition headshot of Maureen Sedonaen is available for download here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/xih2rgfgqyblf8u/Maureen%20Sedonaen%20head%20shot.jpg?dl=0

Source: Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco