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Axios Philadelphia

MacKenzie Scott donates $25 million to Philly nonprofits

by Taylor Allen

Staff of Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia. Courtesy of Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia

Corinne O’Connell, the CEO of Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia, received a suspicious email she thought was “a hoax” on an early February evening.

  • It was about a philanthropist who wanted to learn about the nonprofit’s mission.

Flash forward: That philanthropist was MacKenzie Scott, ready to donate $5 million to the organization known for building affordable housing.

Details: The donation — part of the $436 million Scott gave to the local chapter’s parent organization — is the largest one-time gift Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia has ever received.

  • The billionaire also gave $20 million to Benefit Data Trust, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that connects people to public benefits.

What they’re saying: “Nobody should have to choose between putting food on the table, heating their homes, or taking medicine,” Benefit Data Trust CEO Trooper Sanders said in a statement. “This gift will help us more rapidly scale our work and innovations to fundamentally modernize how people access assistance.”

O’Connell said she’ll be using the influx of money to help build multiple projects at once.

  • “Today, we celebrate, and tomorrow, we get back to building,” she told Axios. “The power of this gift is that we don’t have to pause.”

1 cool thing: Before announcing the big news, O’Connell asked her staff what they would need to make their workday easier. They were surprised this week with news that they’ll get new desk chairs, computer monitors and other supplies.

  • “I felt a little like Oprah,” she said.