Paris’s Notre-Dame cathedral was still in flames when people around the world began organizing funding drives to repair the damage that was occurring. That damage is severe. The church’s towering wooden spire and likely the entire wooden roof structure (which dates to the 12th century) was incinerated, and the flaming timbers likely did great damage when they collapsed into the exquisitely decorated interior.
Help is on the way. François-Henri Pinault, the billionaire French businessman (and husband to Salma Hayek), has pledged 100 million euros (about $113 million) to the cause. That likely won’t be enough, though. The building was in the midst of a $180 million renovation project (which may have caused the fire) to repair damage that had accumulated over the centuries; and it’s clearly in much worse shape now.
Even if you can’t spare $100 million, your donations will surely be appreciated as the French people, the Catholic Church, and lovers of Notre-Dame around the world struggle to restore the great church. Here are three ways you can give:
- Friends of Notre-Dame: With offices in France and the U.S., this is the primary organization that has raised money for the restoration that was underway. The U.S. branch is a 501c3 public charity, making all gifts tax-deductible for U.S. contributors.
- Fondation du Patrimoine: This French nonprofit funds preservation of historic, cultural sites throughout France. It has established a special Notre-Dame rebuilding fund.
- Basilica of the National Shrine: The largest Roman Catholic church in North America, situated in Washington, D.C., has launched its own fundraising campaign. U.S. Catholics who want to act within the framework of their faith may find this the most fitting way. (Notre-Dame is a Catholic church, after all.)
The US-based French Heritage Society, an organization dedicated to preserving “French architectural legacy” in both France and the US, has also established a Notre Dame fire restoration fund. The French Heritage Society is also 501(c)(3) nonprofit, meaning donations are tax deductible.
Additional major donations have been pledged, including 200 million Euros from French billionaire Bernard Arnault (CEO of LVMH luxury brands empire) and 100 million Euros from French oil giant Total.
This article has been updated.