Notre Dame's Rebuild Has Already Raised $1 Billion

It hasn't even been a week.

FRANCE-FIRE-NOTRE DAME
MICHEL EULERGetty Images

While the exact method, style, and timeline for Notre Dame's reconstruction may still be up in the air, one thing is for certain: There will be no shortage of funds for the project, whatever it might look like. As of today, donations to restore the iconic Paris cathedral, which caught fire on Monday and burned for several hours, have surpassed $1 billion.

Major donations kicked off the evening of the fire, with French billionaires (and often competitors) Francois Pinault and Bernard Arnault pledging €100 million and €200 million, respectively. Over the next few days, companies like L'Oreal, Société Générale, and JCDecaux all made multi-million dollar pledges, the reported, bringing the total donations up to €850 million, or about $995 million. That was all before American companies like chipped in, bringing the total donations to more than $1 billion.

Such a massive influx of funds, while widely considered an admirable show of support for the preservation of history and architecture, has caused some controversy. In widely shared on social media, Irish writer Carl Kinsella pointed out: "If two men in a world of more than 7 billion people can provide €300 million to restore Notre Dame, within six hours, then there is enough money in the world to feed every mouth, shelter every family and educate every child. The failure to do so is a matter of will, and a matter of system."

One demonstrably good way in which this focus on giving has spread beyond Paris? A spike in donations for —and attention to—a group of primarily black churches in Louisiana that had recently been destroyed by arson. A in support of the Seventh District Baptist Churches reached its $1.8 million fundraising goal in just days, with more than 37,000 people chipping in. Now, if only it didn't require a new tragedy to see that kind of generosity.

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