mackenzie scott
Huntington High School students helped build a new home with Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk County during their winter break in February 2021. (Courtesy Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk via Facebook)

Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk has received a $3.75 million donation from author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott after she made a total $436 million contribution to Habitat for Humanity International and its 84 affiliates.

Scott, the billionaire ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, pledged in 2019 to give away most of her fortune, and Habitat International is her latest benefactor. The organization’s Suffolk chapter builds low-cost homes in the county, making homeownership attainable for Long Island families who could otherwise not afford it, and runs a thrift shop of furniture and building materials called ReStore in Ronkonkoma. 

“We are overwhelmed with gratitude to MacKenzie Scott for bestowing us with this transformational gift and believing in the ability of our affiliate to fulfill Habitat’s mission to use God’s love to bring people together to build homes, communities and hope here on Long Island,” said Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk CEO and Executive Director Lee Silberman. “When families work side by side with our construction staff and volunteers to build their forever home, they are not only creating a better community, but they are building a better life for themselves and the future for their children.”

The donation will allow Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk to increase the number of homes it builds over the next three to five years, as well as expanding its community outreach and launching a home repair program for low-income families, military veterans, and senior citizens, which will help to improve their homes and quality of life.

Silberman noted that more than half of all Long Island families spend more than 30% of their income on housing, which is the HUD definition of being housing burdened, and 20% of all LI families spend more than half of their income on housing, “leaving little to no money to pay for proper health care and other necessities.”

“People vital to making Long Island a great place to live, such as classroom aides, home health care aides, volunteer firefighters and EMTs cannot afford to live in or near the communities they serve,” he said. “This gift will give us the tools to help them, and in turn, help the community at large.”

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