Habitat Hillsborough receives $7.5M of Transformational $436M Gift to Habitat International

Habitat Hillsborough receives $7.5M of Transformational $436M Gift to Habitat International


Tina Forcier, CEO, Habitat Hillsborough

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY OF HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY will use its $7.5M gift to address affordable housing shortage in Hillsborough County.

Tampa, FL (March 22, 2022)  Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County, along with Habitat for Humanity International, and 83 U.S. Habitat affiliate organizations, recently received $436 million in unrestricted giving from American author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. Of that, Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County received $7.5 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.  

“Habitat Hillsborough works with local families so they can obtain the dream of homeownership and break the cycle of poverty by providing an affordable mortgage for a sustainable home.  Doing this allows them to build equity and break the cycle of poverty.  In addition, we have seen evidence of how our work is closing the wealth gap in our community.  This gift will allow us to continue growing and partnering with more families to help them gain strength, stability and self-reliance through homeownership.”

Over the next few weeks, Habitat Hillsborough will work on a plan for the $7.5 million to ensure the funds are put to their highest and best use.

Hillsborough County has the highest poverty level (nearly 15%) in the region while another 25% of residents live below the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) threshold, meaning they struggle to afford basic necessities: combined, nearly 40% of our community faces economic hardship.  This makes finding affordable housing difficult: Tampa is one of 10 markets nationally where rent is growing fastest, increasing 24% in 5 years, twice the national average and well ahead of wage growth. While homeownership can significantly reduce the cost of housing, Hillsborough County has the lowest rate of homeownership (58%) in Tampa Bay, also lower than Florida’s average (66%) or the national rate (64%.).  In fiscal year 2020, 58% of the new homes we constructed were purchased by Black families and 26% by Hispanic families. This gift will allow us to increase our capacity and help even more families close the wealth gap we see in Hillsborough County.

Habitat International will use its $25 million portion of the donationto 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 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.”

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About Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County
With a 4-star Charity Navigator rating, Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County builds and renovates homes in partnership with individuals and families in need of decent, affordable housing.  Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County is an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a global housing ministry that seeks to put God’s love into action, bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope. Families and individuals qualify for the Habitat for Humanity homeownership program based on need, willingness to partner in the program through sweat equity hours and completion of homeowner classes, and the ability to pay an affordable mortgage. For more details on Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County, visit HabitatHillsborough.org

About Habitat for Humanity International
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity found its earliest inspirations as a grassroots movement on an interracial community farm in south Georgia. Since its founding in 1976, the Christian housing organization has grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.