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May 18, 2022
 
Mass. Habitat Affiliate Receives $3.5M Gift to Build Homes
Habitat for Humanity Metro West

March 24, 2022 — Habitat for Humanity MetroWest/Greater Worcester, a nonprofit based in Worcester that builds homes for local families and veterans who do not quality for other home ownership programs, yesterday announced it received a $3.5 million unrestricted gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott to advance its work.

“Over the next few years, Habitat for Humanity MetroWest/Greater Worcester will use MacKenzie Scott’s generous donation to accelerate the building and repair of homes for families in our communities,” said Debbie Maruca Hoak, executive director of Habitat for Humanity MetroWest/Greater Worcester (HFH MWGW). “In Greater Worcester and MetroWest, the median sales price of homes has increased substantially while homes for sale are in short supply, keeping ownership out of reach for low to moderate income families.

“Our goal is to alleviate the inequity in home ownership while bringing people together to build strength, stability, and self-reliance through affordable housing. We believe that everyone deserves a fair chance and the power to build their own futures.”

The gift was part of a $436 million donation Scott made to the national Habitat for Humanity organization and 84 affiliates. In the last two years, she has donated $12.4 billion to 1,251 nonprofits, including unrestricted gifts to at least 19 in Massachusetts.

Scott noted that each nonprofit receiving a grant “was selected through a rigorous process, and has a strong track record of serving under-supported needs.”

HFH MWGW partners with local families of all races, ethnicities, ages, faiths, and backgrounds who earn 30%-60% of area median income and whose housing situation is unsafe, too crowded, or otherwise unaffordable.

Habitat families pay for their homes through a monthly mortgage, they also put in between 300 hours of sweat equity prior to becoming homeowners.

HFH MWGW said, “We actively work to end racism and unconscious bias. Over 50% of our homes are owned by people of color, and over 75% are owned by single women.”

HFH MWGW serves Ashland, Auburn, Barre, Boylston, Brookfield, Charlton, Douglas, Dudley, East Brookfield, Framingham, Grafton, Holden, Holliston, Hopkinton, Leicester, Marlborough, Millbury, Natick, New Braintree, North Brookfield, Northborough, Northbridge, Oakham, Oxford, Paxton, Rutland, Sherborn, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Southbridge, Spencer, Sturbridge, Sudbury, Sutton, Upton, Uxbridge, Wayland, Webster, West Boylston, West Brookfield, Westborough, and Worcester.

Writing in her blog, Scott observed that “when we help one group, we often help them all. A growing body of research on this contains numerous examples – bike lanes designed to protect cyclists improving local retail sales and property values for everyone, seatbelt laws adopted to protect young children saving the lives of people of all ages, students of all ethnicities achieving better learning outcomes at schools that are racially diverse, workforce and education opportunities for women and girls leading to global economic growth.

“And those are just the positive ripple effects that can be easily counted. The dividends of changes in attitude each time disparate groups help each other are harder to trace. But the trend line is clear. Communities with a habit of removing obstacles for different subsets of people tend to get better for everyone.”

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