Helping to rebuild Notre Dame

Apr 16, 2019 | Hot Topics

If you’re like me, you wanted to tune out the destruction of Paris’ Cathedral of Notre Dame yesterday, but just couldn’t. It’s a place of spiritual significance to many, an iconic Paris tourist destination to others. To me, it’s also a marvel of engineering and architecture, showcasing human ingenuity for over 850 years. A museum housing incredible works of art. A super-cool, massive organ that’s played some of civilization’s most important works.

The President of France has said the Cathedral will be rebuilt, as it has been countless times in its history. And we can help. According to the US magazine, Fast Company, here’s how we can donate money to the effort:

Friends of Notre-Dame is the organization that had raised money for the restoration that was underway, which might have created the spark that led to the fire. Fast Company says that the U.S. branch is a 501c3 charity, which means that all donations are tax-deductible for U.S. contributors. When I went to the site a few minutes ago, its online donation page was not secure, but the Paypal donation site is.

Fondation du Patrimoine is a French nonprofit that works to preserve sites throughout France and has established a special Notre Dame rebuilding fund. The site is in French and is secure for donors but does not appear to take Paypal. As of 10AM ET on Tuesday, 16 April, the site says it’s raised over 3.5 million eurosF

Finally, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception here in the US has created a fund, too. Secure, no Paypal.

Money will be required to rebuild, that’s for sure. And it seems to be pouring in. But we’ll also need architects, engineers, tradespeople, artists — and software to do the design, manage the restoration, create safety mechanisms to prevent this from happening again … It’ll be a showcase of 21st century ingenuity to preserve what remains and replace what was lost. Will it be better? Too soon to tell, but it will be incredibly important to balance historical accuracy and modern techniques.

Quick update at 15:00 ET on 16 April: I just saw in LIDAR News’ blog that the Cathedral was laser scanned — so there’s data to start from in the restoration effort. W00t! Read more here.

And the Fondation has now recorded more than 5 million euros in donations, to add to the $700 million raised elsewhere, according to CNN.

If you’d like to donate to something that’s not getting the level of attention of Paris’ Notre Dame, one article I read this morning pointed out that three churches in the US burned in recent weeks in cases of malicious arson. You can donate to those restoration efforts here, at one of the church’s GoFundMe page.

We can’t save everything or everyone. But we can make our own little bit of difference.

The cover image is from Pixabay, clearly from before the fire.