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MacKenzie Scott's $436 million gift to Habitat for Humanity includes more than $9 million for Central Florida affiliates


Two Habitat for Humanity affiliates in Central Florida announced donations Tuesday totaling more than $9 million from billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

Scott -- the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos -- is giving a total of $436 million to Habitat for Humanity International and 84 affiliates in the U.S.

That includes $5.75 million for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Orlando & Osceola County and $3.5 million for Habitat of Seminole County & Greater Apopka.

Habitat builds housing so that families in need can own their own home and pay an affordable mortgage.

The Orlando affiliate's president and CEO, Catherine Steck McManus, said they build housing so that families in need can own their own home and pay an affordable mortgage.

"What this gift -- and this very generous gift from Ms. Scott -- is going to allow us to do," she said, "is really help be a force multiplier as we try to move the needle on the affordable housing crisis in Central Florida."

The call about this largest gift ever came last month, she said. "I was only able to tell a select group of individuals, my board chair, my board treasurer and my CFO. And so it's very exciting to be able to share the amazing news with everybody."

Iit will propel forward all their plans to address Central Florida's crisis in affordable housing.

Joe Byrnes came to Central Florida Public Media from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.