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Local Habitat for Humanity branches receive $9.25M from unexpected national gift

Kauaʻi Habitat for Humanity working on the ʻEleʻele Iluna subdivision.
Kauaʻi Habitat for Humanity/Facebook
Kauaʻi Habitat for Humanity
Kauaʻi Habitat for Humanity working on the ʻEleʻele Iluna subdivision.

Two local branches of Habitat for Humanity have received millions of dollars from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. The organization said the gifts came as a complete surprise.

Habitat for Humanity Maui and Kauaʻi Habitat, organizations that build and renovate homes for low-income residents, are among 82 Habitat affiliates gifted $436 million by Scott.

Habitat for Humanity Maui received $3.5 million, while Kauaʻi Habitat received $5.75 million.

Habitat for Humanity Maui Executive Director Sherri Dodson says the award was completely unexpected.

"She does not entertain any proposal, applications. I have no idea how she chose us or the other 84 affiliates. I have no idea," Dodson said.

Dodson says the board created an investment committee to determine how to best utilize the gift.

Some of the money initially will be spent on trucks for their construction teams as well as tools. But part of it will be invested to ensure they have a steady source of income in the future.

Habitat for Humanity Maui/Facebook
Habitat for Humanity Maui

She says the award is a game changer for her organization and the people they serve.

"Affordable housing, especially here on Maui, is such a huge issue. And, you know, we continue to plug along as best we can. But being able to serve more families faster, being able to repair more homes faster is such a blessing to both us as a team and also to the families that we serve," she told Hawaiʻi Public Radio.

In a statement, Kauaʻi Habitat Executive Director Milani Pimental said the gift will help the organization in key areas such as land acquisition and development to provide more affordable housing for the island.

Scott Kim was a news editor at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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