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Several large companies, both French and international, have begun to make donations to help restore Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, which is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre.
Badly devastated during a fire that caused its roof and its 300 ft oak spire to collapse on April 15, the world’s largest fortunes have begun to make donations, including luxury conglomerates Kering (€100 million) and LVMH (€200 million euros). Other names include Total (€100 million), the Bettencourt-Meyers family (major shareholder of L'Oréal with €200 million), Bouygues (one of France’s largest construction companies with €10 million), investment firm Fimalac (€10 million), strategy consultants Cap Gemini (€1 million), as well as several French banks. Tim Cook, CEO, Apple, also announced the company will make a donation.
According to international news agency AFP, the head of a French lumber company said he would work to collect the 1,300 oak beams he thinks are needed to recreate the spire.
The French donations, in addition to pledges made by associations, communities and individuals, are expected to weight on the country’s public finances, with the French government strongly encouraging donations and patronage via a favourable tax treatment. Since the 2003 Aillagon Law, companies that invest in culture can deduct 60% of their expenditure in favour of sponsorship (66% reduction of income tax for individuals), with the possibility of benefiting from a five-year tax rebate, up to a limit of 25% of the donation.
The 856-year-old Notre Dame Cathedral was inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage in 1991.