This aerial picture taken on June 12, 2019 in the French capital Paris shows the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral under repair after it was badly damaged by a huge fire on April 15. / AFP / Lionel BONAVENTURE
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The billionaire French donors who publicly proclaimed they would give hundreds of millions to rebuild Notre Dame have not yet paid a penny toward the restoration of the French national monument, according to church and business officials.Instead, it's mainly American and French individuals, via Notre Dame charitable foundations, that are behind the first donations paying the bills and salaries for up to 150 workers employed by the cathedral since the April 15 fire that devastated its roof and caused its masterpiece spire to collapse. This month they are handing over the first private payment for the cathedral's reconstruction of 3.6 million euros ($4 million).The Friends of Notre Dame de Paris was founded in 2017, and its president, Michel Picaud, estimates that 90% of the donations it has received have come from American donors.That also includes funds from mainly small French donors, collected by the sister Notre Dame Foundation.Two dedicated workers have been cleaning the toxic lead dust from the cathedral's forecourt for weeks, and up to 148 more have been cleaning inside and outside the edifice as well as restoring it, according to Finot.
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