MacKenzie Scott- Billionaire Philanthropist Made 2 Major Real-Estate Donations to Help California Housing Crisis

Last updated: Mar 21, 2024

A single prominent philanthropist may have just saved millions living in California from the threat of homelessness. Meet MacKenzie Scott, a million-dollar donor and humanist.

MacKenzie Scott is best known as the ex-wife of Jeff Bezos and frequent on the billionaire list. She has been using her divorce payout to positively impact as many people as possible.

How Did MacKenzie Scott Help California?

The mogul has recently turned her attention and resources to the rampant California housing crisis, which has left millions homeless and helpless.

A passerby captures the California homeless community in Oakland

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Most recently, Ms. Scott donated several donations to California-rooted organizations that focus on affordable housing. One of these included $15 million to Culver City’s Century Housing organization — known for multi-family financing and rental housing.


What Other Organizations Received Donations From MacKenzie?

Donations are generally documented for tax and write-off purposes. MacKenzie has been a confirmed donor to both the BRIDGE Housing organization and the San Francisco Community Land Trust.

San Francisco’s iconic ‘Painted Ladies’ at sunset

Source: GoCar Tours

Both organizations received $8 million and $20 million each, respectively — some of the largest private donations on record. Both organizations are located in-state and directly support local residents.

MacKenzie Donates Just in Time — Millions of Californians Fight Homelessness

While many have criticized Ms. Scott, hypothesizing that the sizable donations were “just another tax write-off,” others have come to her defense. The rent crisis has reached a boiling point for many in the state, as the average rent has crested $2,700/month.

Elderly citizens protest rent increases as they fight a daily battle against homelessness

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Many in the area are working multiple part-time jobs just to pay for minimum expenses and bills.

How Bad Is $2,700 Per Month, Really?

Many know California for the expensive goods and high minimum wages…but do those wages equate to the ever-rising cost of rent?

Local Los Angeles man stands in the kitchen of an average $2,700 per month apartment.

Source: Pinterest

Recent CEIC data suggests that average rent prices in the area (about $2,700 per month) eat up about 60% of someone’s average monthly earnings — in addition to utilities, add-on services, parking bills or grocery bills.

Senior Officials Remain Worried About At-Risk Groups

Century Housing experts have gone viral with their quotes and claims to media sources, all unanimously noting the risk that the rent rises pose to underprivileged society members and seniors.

Another homeless encampment in the heart of downtown Los Angeles.

Source: The Denver VOICE

MacKenzie Scott’s gift will be put to good use by her chosen organizations, supporting hundreds in keeping their homes and security.


What Is the End Goal of These Donations?

While many rightfully assume that the donation money will go toward renting or purchasing properties and homes for Californians in need, it’s important to look at the larger goal of this as well.

A community bands together to celebrate recent wins over homelessness and poverty

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Many agree that this goal is to create long-term thriving communities that build a more equitable tomorrow; fueled by the stability that the donation can bring.


Just How Bad Is the California Housing Market?

Renting can eat up about 60% of a person’s monthly salary — and unfortunately, buying a home is no better. Experts estimate that only 16% of the state’s residents could buy an average-priced and average-sized home in the state.

A homeless person’s shoes and legs are seen as they lay on the street to rest.

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These statistics do not take regional price variation into account, either — meaning that hot home locations are unattainable.


Century Housing: The Premiere Option for Residents in Need

While Ms. Scott donated to multiple organizations, the most sizable donation went to Century Housing. This is with good reason; as they are the most popular option that supports resident home purchases for those who earn just 50% of their area’s median income level.

A person sits at a desk, working on her laptop.

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This math approximately equates to 55% of the regional market rate, depending on the extenuating variables.


The Birth of Something New: MacKenzie Scott’s Cash Starts Red Tail Crossing

As a result of the sizable donation coming from Ms. Scott, Century Housing has launched its first supportive housing initiative in the heart of Los Angeles — known as Red Tail Crossing.

San Francisco trolley tracks and city streets.

Source: ExperienceFirst

Additionally, the organization has gone on record pledging portions of the money for further investment in ongoing projects and properties, such as their supportive site in San Francisco.


Not Just for Median Earners: Century Housing Supports the Underprivileged

Many residents in need do not qualify for affordable or subsidized housing — a problem which has plagued California for the better part of two generations. Part of Ms. Scott’s donation will go toward project homes for these individuals, such as Century’s lot in Palo Alto, CA.

An aerial view of Palo Alto, California.

Source: Visit California

Located at 231 Grant, this property offers 110 affordable homes for local teachers in need — actively working to reduce financial strain.


How Much Money Has MacKenzie Scott Given Away?

MacKenzie Scott began her Giving Pledge in 2019. Since then, she has been recorded donating over $14 billion of her own money to over 1,600+ organizations around the country.

A crumpled ball of U.S. dollar bills sits in the model’s grip

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These donations have not affected Ms. Scott’s net worth, which remains strong at $39.6 billion. She notes that she continues to feel the need to help someone, and continues to give.