Saint Paul, MN (December 15, 2020) Greater Minnesota Housing Fund has received an unexpected donor gift of $7 million from MacKenzie Scott, an individual philanthropist committed to giving away at least half of her wealth in her lifetime to advance social justice.
Warren Hanson, President, and CEO of Greater Minnesota Housing Fund said “MacKenzie Scott’s gift is remarkable, unexpected and we are deeply grateful for this unrestricted gift which will advance the evolving work of Greater Minnesota Housing Fund and the organizations we support. We will use the contribution to advance the production and preservation of affordable housing, end homelessness, and address economic and racial inequities in housing.”
Advancing Racial Equity in the Field of Affordable Housing
The gift will allow our organization to foster meaningful partnerships by providing strategic grants, investments, and partnerships that promote ownership and build wealth in communities of color. Since its founding, the organization has provided access to capital to advance housing in underserved communities in both rural and urban communities, with an emphasis on working with Native American tribes.
“This generous gift will be used to scale existing initiatives, including providing access to capital and capacity building to BIPOC developers and builders, addressing the homeownership disparity for households of color, stabilizing naturally occurring affordable housing, and encouraging cross-sector partnerships in health and housing,” said Hanson.
Activities that can be supported by the donation include:
Preservation of Small Naturally Affordable Rental Properties – GMHF will provide access to low cost capital to for small and emerging rental owner-operators, complemented by capacity building and technical assistance, with a focus on supporting new developers/entrepreneurs of color in urban and rural areas of the state.
Minnesota Health and Housing Initiative – The pandemic has made clear that stable housing is essential to better health outcomes. The Initiative will foster new partnerships between the health care and housing sector to develop a variety of supportive housing models, benefitting those in need of services including those with chronic health challenges, disabilities, and homeless persons.
Lending to BIPOC Developers and Builders – GMHF is planning new and flexible investments to developers, builders, and property owners, including tribal developers and builders. We seek to foster the formation of new partnerships among affordable housing developers, and support for training and capacity building.
COVID-19 Response and Recovery – GMHF will continue to work with community organizations and rental owners statewide to assist with pandemic recovery efforts. This includes fostering additional emergency rent assistance, and providing organizational and property stabilization funding.
MacKenzie Scott’s Philanthropic Pledge to Give Away Her Wealth and to Advance Social Justice
Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott made the announcement Tuesday, December 15, in a post titled “384 Ways to Help” where she announced the gift to Greater Minnesota Housing Fund as well as those of 383 other organizations. The organizations together were gifted $4.16 billion across all 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. The organizations identified partake in a variety of activities, but all have strong management and a method for showing impact. In the article, Scott wrote:
“This pandemic has been a wrecking ball in the lives of Americans already struggling. Economic losses and health outcomes alike have been worse for women, for people of color, and for people living in poverty. Meanwhile, it has substantially increased the wealth of billionaires.”
A total of 384 organizations were funded by MacKenzie Scott in this round, with over $4.2 billion given away out of her total wealth estimated at $60 billion. She previously gave away $1.2 billion in July 2020. Philanthropist and author of Anti-Bullying books, Scott has taken a signed Giving Pledge, a public pledge to give at least 50% of her wealth away in her lifetime and is doing so at a fast rate. As Scott wrote in her announcement, this type of giving paves the way for unsolicited and unexpected gifts given with full trust and no strings attached.
Greater Minnesota Housing Fund (GMHF)’s mission is to strengthen communities through the production and preservation of affordable housing. In its 25-year history, GMHF has become Minnesota’s leading nonprofit affordable housing lender, working in all 87 counties of Minnesota to provide low-cost financing to create and preserve single-family and multi-family homes. GMHF has financed over 17,643 homes and apartments, that house over 26,000 Minnesotans.
GMHF is mission driven by the knowledge that safe, stable, and affordable housing saves and changes lives and is essential to improving life outcomes in health, employment, education, and child development. GMHF implements innovative programs, strategies, and models that and have a positive impact on individuals and communities through the production and preservation of affordable homes.
GMHF is regularly involved in conducting research into best practices and innovative strategies. The organization is also deeply engaged in COVID-19 research and recovery planning activities in collaboration with affordable housing developers across the state.