Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity Receives Transformational Gift from MacKenzie Scott

During March of 2022, Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity learned that author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott intended to provide Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity a total of $9 million over three years to amplify its mission and advance its vision of the future for Central Iowa residents.

The donation to GDM Habitat Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity was part of a $436 million gift benefiting Habitat for Humanity International, and 83 U.S. Habitat affiliate organizations.

“We are grateful, amazed, and inspired to receive this transformative gift.” says Lance Henning, GDM Habitat president and executive director. “With so many Central Iowans facing housing challenges, MacKenzie Scott’s donation will allow us to accelerate our work and meaningfully implement the strategies we have developed to address homeownership affordability. This gift underscores the urgent need for the creation and preservation of affordable homeownership, as well as GDM Habitat’s strong and distinctive position to make a dramatic difference.”

In Central Iowa one in eight households spend half or more of their income on housing. Low wages and rapidly rising housing costs are squeezing budgets, forcing families to make tough choices between their home, medical care, food, and transportation. One unexpected expense — a sick child, a flat tire — can send a family hurtling toward eviction, or even homelessness.

Over the next several months GDM Habitat will develop a long-term strategy for this funding. Ms. Scott’s gift entrusts the organization to intentionally extend its work and efficiently utilize every cent to create the greatest impact with Central Iowa. GDM Habitat will begin by investing these dollars in their strategic plan priorities, furthering initiatives like doubling the number of homebuyers, deepening neighborhood revitalization, increasing access to credit, and clearing the path to homeownership information and resources.

“This gift does not resolve the affordable housing challenges in our community, but it does allow each donation a supporter makes to go even further in ensuring all our neighbors have a safe, affordable place to call home,” says Henning. “We hope this game-changing gift will inspire other like-minded supporters to contribute to GDM Habitat’s mission as we work to invest $50M in affordable housing over the next five years in Central Iowa.”

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