Billionaire MacKenzie Scott just donated two Beverly Hills mansions worth $55 million to fund affordable housing in LA

Wealth

In her ongoing crusade to give away at least half of her wealth, billionaire MacKenzie Scott is now gifting mansions to charity.

Scott recently donated two of her homes — both in Beverly Hills, California — to the California Community Foundation (CCF), which provides grants to mission-based nonprofits in Los Angeles. The organization intends to sell both homes, worth a combined $55 billion, and use 90% of the earnings to fund affordable housing initiatives, says CCF senior vice president Jarrett Barrios.

The other 10% will go toward an immigrant integration program, he adds. “We have in Los Angeles a critical need for affordable housing that is linked to the homelessness crisis we are experiencing, and the cure for homelessness is homes,” Barrios tells CNBC Make It. ”This [gift] will ensure a sizable increase in our annual spending on creating housing and supporting tenants.”

The transaction was finalized this past weekend, after Scott began the process of donating the mansions last month.

Scott, whose net worth was $38.2 billion as of Tuesday afternoon, bought one of the homes with ex-husband Jeff Bezos for $24.4 million in 2007. They bought the second home, located just down the street, a decade later for $12.9 million. Combined, the homes have 11 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, a swimming pool and tennis court, according to Zillow.

Scott did not immediately respond to CNBC Make It’s request for comment. In March, she disclosed philanthropic donations of nearly $4 billion over the previous nine months. That included $20 million to the CCF to establish the LA Arts endowment fund — which, according to the foundation’s website, issues grants to small to mid-sized art organizations in Los Angeles.

“When our giving team focuses on any system in which people re struggling, we don’t assume that we, or any other single group, can know how to fix it,” Scott wrote on Medium in March. “Instead, we seek a portfolio of organizations that supports the ability of all people to participate in solutions. This means a focus on the needs of those whose voices have been underrepresented.”

It’ll take a while before the mansions turn into usable money: CCF needs to market and sell the homes before deciding which organizations will receive annual grants from the proceeds, Barrios says. The organization’s eventual goal is to build and maintain affordable housing units for low-income people in Los Angeles, and fund housing justice programs that help tenants access information and apply for rental assistance programs, he adds.

Much of the timeline depends on the volatility of the housing market in southern California, says Paula Valle Castañon, CCF’s director of marketing and communications. She says the hired realtors aren’t yet sure how quickly the homes will sell.

“We’re grateful to MacKenzie Scott for investing in our community, and her partnership will allow CCF to grow our reach in the community,” Castañon says. “But we’re also honored she felt our team was competent and in CCF’s ability to maintain and sell two multimillion-dollar homes.”

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