The ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral inspired large donations from France’s most affluent families.
The country’s big leagues joined the worldwide fundraising campaign to refurbish this iconic European landmark. The drive has already collected a total of $700 million donations.
The family of Bernard Arnault, CEO of French multinational conglomerate company LVMH Group, leads in donations with €200 million ($226 million). LVMH is behind the brands Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Christian Dior, Givenchy, Charles and Keith, CELINE and Sephora.
In LVMH’s official statement, the luxury giant described the Notre Dame Cathedral as a “symbol of France, of its heritage and of French unity.” According to the company, their contribution is a display of solidarity in the midst of nationwide adversity. LVMH also vouched to make its employees help out in the fundraising drive and rehabilitation process of the famed cathedral.
The Bettencourt Meyers lineage, led by Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, also chipped in €200 million. The family owns the world’s biggest cosmetic brand L’Oréal, which also operates brands such as Lancome, Garnier, Maybelline, and Kiehl’s.
Aside from the Bettencourts, the Pinault clan, who operates French luxury group Kering, promised €100 million ($113 million). The company is behind Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Bottega Veneta, and Brioni.
Kering CEO François-Henri Pinault said the destroyed cathedral is a tragedy for all French people, adding “Everyone wishes to give life back to this jewel of our heritage as soon as possible.”
Other French businesses sent in their contributions after the devastating fire. Gas company Total threw in €100 million ($113 million), while consulting firm Capgemini pledged €1 million ($1.1 million).
This 850-year old church was recently engulfed by fire, destroying its roof and famous spire. The renowned French site is visited by 13 million people every year. The country’s president Emmanuel Macron promised to salvage this exceptional structure, adding “it’s what our history deserves.”
The fundraising campaign to rehabilitate Notre Dame also encourages the participation of other nations. Tim Cook, CEO of American tech company Apple, already vouched to pitch in for the cathedral’s restoration, saying “Notre Dame is a symbol of hope” and the company will help in bringing back its heritage for the succeeding generation.