By: Danielle Racicot:
On Monday April 15th, 2019 the Notre-Dame cathedral caught on fire and began burning to what seemed like there would be nothing left. Thankfully there were no visitors left inside the church and the firefighters in Pairs salvaged the foundation of the cathedral and multiple artifacts inside of it. As of right now, the cause of the fire was an accident, although officials are still investigating. According to cbsnews, the cathedral is considered the most famous Gothic cathedral ever built. The construction for the cathedral began in 1163 and took nearly 200 years to complete.
According to USA today, donations were being made to help rebuild the cathedral and within 2 days, $1 billion was already raised. While donations were being made, social media poured out in disgust. According to the nytimes, “Some criticism was aimed at donors for not paying their fair share in taxes…And some attacked the premise of giving so much to a damaged cathedral when that money could better benefit social service organizations that could provide food, shelter or a better education to needy citizens.”
Assumption College Junior, Emma Lang, wrote a poem for her poetry final on the Notre-Dame cathedral receiving donations while other parts in the world suffer. Lang questions in her poem why the money has to be given to just one cause and not be given to both the cathedral and parts of the world suffering.
According to the nytimes, Nicolas Berggruen, a billionaire philanthropist who founded the Berggruen Institute in Los Angeles said, “What I’m more concerned about is the broad-brush critique of the whole concept of giving and the under-appreciation of all the good giving has done,” he said. “We need a healthy civil society doing different things.” Berggruen believes people should appreciate most donations being given to a cause in the first place. He is alluding to the concept of people not having to give at all, but to be thankful they did give.
Berggruen was not the only one with an opinion on this matter, Caroline W. Hodkinson, director of philanthropic advisory at Bessemer Trust, said, “for those who would rather avoid backlash, anonymity is always an option, some of the firm’s wealthiest clients were opting to use limited liability companies to hold money that was earmarked for philanthropy but that could also be used for impact investing. The investment vehicles give donors greater flexibility over how the money is managed, but they also provide near-total anonymity.”