Are the French ready to mobilize to save their endangered churches? By launching on September 15, on the eve of Heritage Days, a national collection, the President of the Republic has made the bet that yes. A little less than a week later, the first figures can in any case be considered encouraging, while being far from a tidal wave: this Thursday evening the counter of the Heritage Foundation indicated more than 284,200 euros collected, thanks to 1,348 donors. Everyone will be able to deduct, this is the main incentive, 75% of the amount of his donation from his taxes, against 66% usually, within the limit of 1,000 euros.
In the logic of the glass half empty or full, Guillaume Poitrinal, the president of the Foundation, chose the first option. "It's a very good number for us, a very good start. This is our second best collection ever organized after Notre-Dame," he said, without fear of comparison. In fact, many of the projects supported by the institution, nearly 2000 at the moment, never reach these figures, even after several months. But none benefits from "publicity" launched directly by the President of the Republic... There are therefore almost no points of comparison to judge the outpouring of generosity of the moment. "What is also new for us is that this collection is not targeted at a specific monument," says Guillaume Poitrinal.
"These are exclusively small donations, made by individuals"
Mr. Heritage of Emmanuel Macron, Stéphane Bern is also optimistic. "It's a good start for something that is solely supported by the Fondation du patrimoine," comments the facilitator. What is interesting is the large number of donors. Because this sum is exclusively small donations, made by individuals. Basically, it is very good to have launched this appeal for donations for municipalities with less than 10,000 inhabitants. I have been telling the President for a long time that we must act on religious heritage. The mayors I've met since then are very happy."
Good or simply average, the amount of the collection can only continue to grow. The Macron plan for religious buildings, much criticized on the left, is indeed planned for four years. "This is just the beginning. We are committed to the long term. We will work on the ground to select the buildings that we believe are most in an emergency situation from among the 5,000 considered to be threatened in the long term. We will then relaunch the mobilization at the local level to encourage people to save the one where they got married, where they were baptized..., details the president of the Foundation. And of course, we will solicit sponsorship, both at the level of the CAC 40 and local clubs. »
The long-term goal? The one set by Emmanuel Macron. "The road is long but we hope for 200 million euros. It's ambitious, but it's commensurate with the needs," says Guillaume Poitrinal. We estimated that it would take 600 million to restore all religious buildings in poor condition."