How to donate to repair Notre Dame after devastating fire

By Megan Cerullo

/ MoneyWatch

Theology professor on Notre Dame Cathedral

Dozens of fundraisers are cropping up to help pay for what is expected to be a long and laborious effort to repair France's beloved Notre Dame cathedral after it was ravaged by fire Monday. Two of France's wealthiest families have pledged to contribute more than $300 million to spearhead the project.

Dr. Emily Guerry, senior lecturer in Medieval European history at Britain's University of Kent, told CBS News that bringing the more than 850-year-old church back to its former glory could take 20 to 40 years. French President Emmanuel Macron, who pledged to launch a national fundraiser, on Tuesday vowed to proceed much faster and rebuild in a little as five years. Here are ways to contribute to the reconstruction of Notre Dame.

Friends of Notre Dame

"Friends of Notre Dame" is a 501(c)(3) public charity established by the Archbishop of Paris and the Diocese of Paris to fund the structure's regular maintenance, repairs and renovation. The French government previously paid for the work, but no longer do. The group details the historic site's decay before the fire, noting that it "is in desperate need of attention." Separate from the fire-related damage, the cathedral's pinnacles, gargoyles, finials, crockets and railings, stonework, stained glass, and flying buttresses are all in need of repair, according to the site.

Trending News

It's unclear how many people have contributed to the campaign since yesterday's fire, but an overwhelming number of visitors reportedly crashed the site in its aftermath. It is now back up and running. Before the fire, the fundraiser was seeking to raise roughly $110 million for repairs.

Is it possible to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral after devastating fire?

The French Heritage Society

The French Heritage Society, dedicated to preserving France's rich architectural and cultural heritage in both the U.S. and France, has launched a Notre Dame Fire Restoration Fund that as of Tuesday afternoon had raised $40,000 from more than 500 individuals.

The fund has been established "to accept donations for the restoration work that will be necessary as a result of the devastating fire at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris," according to the site. Executive director Jennifer Herlein said the organization will make a grant directly to the restoration project via its contacts at Notre Dame.

"Obviously, Notre Dame has special importance for many reasons, and what's beautiful is individuals are able to come together and collectively make a difference," Herlein told CBS MoneyWatch.

Fondation du Patrimoine

The Fondation du Patrimoine, or the Heritage Foundation, funds restoration projects at historical sites across France and has launched a fundraiser dedicated to repairing Notre Dame. Supporters had pledged more than $4 million by Tuesday afternoon, according to The Wall Street Journal.

La Fondation Avenir du Patrimoine a Paris

La Fondation Avenir du Patrimoine a Paris, or the Future Foundation of Heritage in Paris, is seeking donations in the amounts of 50-5,000 euros, while warning against contributing to private fundraisers.

"IMPORTANT: The Notre Dame Foundation on April 16 is launching an international effort to collect donations. It advises prudence regarding multiple private French or foreign fundraisers whose surge has coincided with the event," the foundation said in a tweet.

Significance of Notre Dame Cathedral dating back to 1163

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

A spokesperson for the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the largest Catholic church in North America, said the institution felt compelled to help its "sister church in Paris." It has launched a fundraising campaign that so far has raised about $25,000 that will go directly to helping rebuild the storied cathedral.

"The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception encourages those whose lives have been touched by this iconic Cathedral to support the effort to resurrect and rebuild this church which has touched the hearts and souls of the world," its donation page reads.

GoFundMe

Dozens of campaigns related to the Notre Dame fire have sprouted on popular crowdfunding website GoFundMe, including one from a virtual organization called Catholic Connect that has raised nearly $9,000.

— Haley Ott contributed to this report

First published on April 16, 2019 / 3:18 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.

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