Editor's Note: This story was updated on Aug. 8, 2023.
The National Housing Trust (NHT) has received a $10 million grant from MacKenzie Scott’s Yield Giving, marking the largest donation in the nonprofit’s 37-year history.
The Housing Partnership Network (HPN), a collaborative of more than 100 of the nation’s leading housing and community development organizations, also announced that it has received a $12 million gift from Yield Giving.
Priya Jayachandran, CEO of NHT, received the surprise news in a phone call while attending a recent housing conference. She calls the award “game changing.”
“We are a strong organization over 35 years old, but, like a lot of nonprofits, I liken us to small businesses,” Jayachandran told Affordable Housing Finance. “It’s valuable on so many levels. It’s validating that people see the impact of the organization. Second is the value of the investment in us and really strengthening us.”
NHT recently refreshed its five-year strategic plan through 2025, doubling down on five impact areas—housing supply, innovation, sustainability, resident agency, and racial equity.
This grant will allow NHT to scale its work of creating and preserving affordable housing across the United States.
The unsolicited award from philanthropist MacKenzie’s Scott Yield Giving is unrestricted, giving NHT tremendous flexibility in how to deploy the funds. The unexpected $10 million grant is huge for the organization, which has an annual budget of $11 million.
Yield Giving has invested in a wide range of nonprofits, including housing organizations. In many cases, it does “quiet research” to identify candidate organizations that are working to advance opportunities for people in underserved communities.
HPN leaders said they will use their gift to power innovative solutions to address the affordable housing crisis.
“We deeply appreciate Ms. Scott’s generous gift and are honored by this investment that recognizes HPN’s 30 years of impact and will accelerate the next generation of ideas and innovation to advance our members’ work in the affordable housing field,” said president and CEO Robin Hughes. “The creation of HPN’s new, aspirational strategic plan is underway, and these unexpected resources fuel our ability to think bigger than ever before.”
Unrestricted grants are invaluable to nonprofits as they provide the flexibility and resources necessary to address the most pressing needs and pursue innovative solutions, according to the organization.
“The board and staff are overjoyed and deeply grateful to receive this generous gift. As owners, lenders, builders, and other experienced practitioners working in different markets across the country, the Network is honored to be recognized for our collective impact and value to the field,” said Deidre Schmidt, chair of HPN’s board and president and CEO of member organization CommonBond Communities, which created and operates over 7,000 safe and stable homes with supportive services in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and South Dakota. “This redoubles our commitment to doing more together."
Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF), a collaborative of nonprofit affordable housing providers, also announced the receipt of a major investment from Yield Giving. The multi-million dollar donation marks the largest individual contribution in SAHF’s 20-year history.
“The donation from Ms. Scott and Yield Giving comes at a crucial time for SAHF as we seek to address mounting market pressures and the repercussions of historically unjust policies that have made housing less affordable and less accessible, particularly for the most marginalized communities,” said Andrea Ponsor, SAHF president and CEO, in a statement. “We are grateful to Ms. Scott for believing in our vision, and we look forward to realizing the impact of this generous investment.”