Nearly $790 Million Pledged for Notre-Dame Reconstruction

Nearly $790 Million Pledged for Notre-Dame Reconstruction

Pledges of financial support for the reconstruction of Notre-Dame de Paris totaled nearly €700 million ($790 million) a day after the Paris landmark was ravaged by fire, Bloomberg and AFP report. 

Francois-Henri Pinault, chair and CEO of Gucci owner Kering, and his father, Francois Pinault, announced that they would donate €100 million ($113 million) for the 800-year-old cathedral's reconstruction from their Artemis investment company. Shortly thereafter, the Arnault family announced a pledge of €200 million ($226 million) and the architectural and design resources of their LVMH fashion conglomerate, while cosmetics company L'Oreal said its principal shareholder, the Bettencourt Meyers family, and the family's charitable foundation would commit €100 million ($113 million) each to the effort. Elsewhere, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said the city would contribute €50 million ($56.4 million), while the government of the greater Paris region pledged €10 million ($11.3 million).

Corporate and individual gifts, as well as offers of technical assistance, also poured in. On Tuesday, French energy company Total announced a pledge of €100 million toward the cathedral's reconstruction, while high-profile French donors to the effort include investor Marc Ladreit de Lacharriere, who committed €10 million ($11.3 million), and construction magnates Martin and Olivier Bouygues, who pledged €10 million. In addition, pledges have been announced by a number of anonymous donors, while the privately run Fondation du Patrimoine (French Heritage Foundation) has already raised €3.3 million ($3.72 million). On this side of the Atlantic, Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted on Tuesday that the company would be "donating to the rebuilding efforts to help restore Notre Dame's precious heritage for future generations" but did not specify an amount.

Restoration work on the cathedral was already under way before the devastating fire broke out, with the budget for the project estimated to have been about €150 million ($170 million). Michel Picaud, senior advisor for fundraising at the Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris, told BFM TV that that figure may triple as a result of the fire.

"This tragedy is striking all the French people, and beyond that, all those attached to spiritual values," Francois-Henri Pinault said in a statement. "Faced with this tragedy, everyone wishes to give life back to this jewel of our heritage as soon as possible."

(Photo credit: Fondation du Patrimoine)