Philanthropists promise €600m to rebuild Notre Dame but face criticism

17 Apr 2019 News

Philanthropists promised €600m to rebuild Notre Dame within 24 hours of the fire on Monday night in Paris.

But commenters on social media are questioning this generosity, comparing it to donations after the Grenfell fire in London in 2017, which according to the Charity Commission’s reports raised £28,981,945 over two years.

One tweet said: “€600,000,000 donated to Notre Dame and just £28,981,945 raised for Grenfell. Please show me again the evidence that working-class lives matter? #GrenfellTower”

Twitter users also commented on the question around priorities in charitable giving from philanthropists.

One user said: “Apparently, 600 million euros has been amassed to rebuild the damaged Notre Dame. In 24 hours. This life is actually hilarious. While there are probably homeless people suffering half a mile around it. While there are issues within communities to be alleviated. Humanity is weak.”

 

Another popular tweet said: “Some French billionaires have pledged 600+ million euros for Notre Dame in less than 12 hours. Shows how easily billionaires could end world hunger, poverty, lack of access to healthcare/clean water/education but don't. 600+ million in twelve hours from just 3 people.”

 

Billionaire philanthropists contribute €100m sums

The Arnault family, owners of the luxury goods group LVMH, promised €200m and the chairman at Gucci’s parent company Francois-Henri Pinault and his father promised €100m, according to Forbes.

Another €200m contribution came from the Bettencourt family that founded L'Oreal, according to The Telegraph.

The Arnaults said in a statement: “The Arnault family and the LVMH Group, in solidarity with this national tragedy, are committed to assist with the reconstruction of this extraordinary cathedral, symbol of France, its heritage and its unity.

“They will donate a total sum of €200m to the fund dedicated to the reconstruction of this architectural work, which is a core part of the French history.

“In the meantime, the LVMH Group puts at the disposal of the state and the relevant authorities all its teams – including creative, architectural and financial specialists – to help with the long work of reconstruction and fundraising, which is already in progress.”

'Hundreds of campaigns' launched online

There have been over 500 pages set up around the world on GoFundMe to fundraise towards rebuilding the cathedral, with many launched in the US. 

A spokesperson told Civil Society News: “Since the news broke on Monday evening, hundreds of campaigns have been launched by people wanting to help rebuild Notre Dame.

“We will be working with authorities in France to make sure funds flow smoothly into the rebuilding effort.”

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