It has only been a few days since a large fire destroyed much of the world famous Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, but already donations are flooding in from around the world to help pay for repairs to the 850-year-old French landmark. It is thought that upwards of $1 billion has been donated so far from a small number of France’s richest citizens and companies.
One of those donations came from Francois-Henri Pinault, who is the CEO of Kering. This is a big company that owns some prestigious brands like Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. He pledged approximately 100 million euros, which is around $113 million at current exchange rates. These are eye watering sums of money, but considering the family is worth in excess of $37 billion, it really is a drop in the ocean.
This donation was then followed by another donation of 200 million euros ($226 million), which was made by Bernard Arnault. He is the current CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. He is better known as being the richest man in Europe, with an estimated fortune of $90 billion. In fact, he is currently the third richest person in the world, trailing only Jeff Bezos and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
There have been other donations to from French cosmetics giant L’Oreal, who are owned by the Bettencourt family. They have also donated 200 million euros for the Notre Dame rebuild. Later that day, oil company Total stated its intention to donate 100 million euros to the rebuilding fund. These donations alone have resulted in a war chest of 600 million euros.
It is thought that the French public will also be as generous in their donations. Despite the large sums that are being donated, it is thought around $8 Billion will be needed to get the project finished.
The French President Emmanual Macron has said that they will attempt to re-build Notre Dame within 5 years, which is considered by many to be a little optimistic, but with the level of donations that are flooding in, who can bet against this from happening? Will more donations be on the way? Tim Cook from Apple says that he is intending to donate to the fund. There are some critics who believe many are using this tragedy as a marketing campaign to improve their image, but the money needs to be raised somehow.
If you would like to donate, you can do so by visiting https://dartagnans.fr/en/projects/notre-dame-de-paris-je-t-aime/campaign.