Notre Dame Donations Spark Anger with Philanthropists

Billion Dollar Donations to Notre Dame Fire Cause Frustration


Photo Courtesy of the New York Times

Payton Wozny, Editor-In-Chief

With the recent burning of the Notre Dame, a world-famous cathedral in Paris many have quickly organized funds to help with the restoration process. Although it’s a good effort, many argue that there are more pressing issues that this money could fund.

According to several reports, over $1 billion have been raised for the effort in just a couple days. Among those who have donated are François-Henri Pinault, CEO a luxury retail group including famous brands like Gucci, and Bernard Arnault, another CEO of a luxury goods company, LVMH, including Louis Vuitton.

However, those frustrated are not necessarily upset because of the donation effort’s goal, but more so how quickly such a large amount of money was raised. Many among those who donated are very wealthy, so the fact they  are all very quick to donate to a cause that is in their personal interest is disheartening to those who wish to help those in need.

Philanthropists are speaking out for other efforts these funds could provide for campaigns that support environmental issues, like climate change, water/air pollution, or restoring the Great Barrier Reef, or societal issues, like the increasing amount of homeless in France(the same location as the Notre Dame) or improving women’s rights in underprivileged countries.

Some Oakton students shared their opinions on the topic. Kevina Wang, sophomore, simply said, “I definitely think enough money should be used to completely restore the church, but the $1 billion is excessive, and people should donate to other causes.” While others expressed their worries specifically about the environment. Carlyn Switzer(9) said, “I think it[the donations] should be used for the environment because the well being of our planet should be our main concern,” and Anne Mitchell(10) said, “The burning of the Notre Dame is a tragedy, but so is air and water pollution.” Yes, the cathedral was an iconic historical building, but the earth is our greatest “building,” and it should be our number-one priority.

A notable public figure who has spoken out about her opinions on the controversy is Pamela Anderson, a popular Canadian-American actress. According to several reports, she walked out of a gala held by Olympique de Marseille(OM), a French soccer club, intended to raise money for the homeless in the city of Marseille, France, but then the “‘big surprise auction item’ came to raise money for rebuilding Notre Dame???” the actress tweeted to her 1.08 million followers the morning after the gala. She continued in the thread to explain how the one-hundred thousand euros raised from the auction would greatly benefit the suffering youth in Marseille and would not make a huge difference in the Notre Dame considering the extremely large amount that has already been donated. She finished by sharing her hopes of the organization reconsidering where the money will go because in Marseille it “would go much further in making lives better.”

However, if you wish to donate to the Notre Dame, you should be aware of the many online scammers who have taken this tragedy as an opportunity to take advantages of the average person. The Federal Trade Commission(FTC) published information about the topic to their website. The main points they warn you should double check or question are the legitimacy of the organization and if through a crowdfunding site, check to see if the spending of the donation is monitored. So, beware if you choose to donate to this cause, even those there are many other issues lacking financially.