Heritage cash gifts soar by 40%

A group dedicated to helping preserve France’s heritage says it has seen donations rise sharply this year.

31 August 2010

A GROUP dedicated to helping preserve France’s heritage says it has seen donations rise sharply this year.

This is a boost for some of the 1,300 private buildings among the 15,000 heritage sites opening their doors for this month’s Journées du Patrimoine.

Many private chateaux lead a hand-to-mouth existence as they try to keep the roof intact and balance the accounts; the Fondation du Patrimoine was set up in 1996 to “protect and enhance undiscovered and endangered treasures” that are outside the framework of protected monuments.

It works with about 1,200 public and private sites to fund repair and upgrade work, and finances 400 projects a year. It also funds repairs and restorations on the likes of a vintage Bugatti in the Schlumpf Collection in Mulhouse.

This year it has beaten the financial squeeze: donations have risen 40% from last year, when it took in €6.3 million.

There has also been a 25% increase in donors; donations can be deducted at 66% on part of taxable revenue, with a 75% ceiling for those paying Impôt de Solidarité sur la Fortune.

Owners themselves can deduct some or all of the cost of renovation within the scheme’s Label Patrimoine Bâti.

However, despite this, the foundation says that there are 500,000 buildings throughout France that are in danger of crumbling away because no effort has been made to save or protect them.

Across France, it has a team of 475 people, including 60 staff and has backing from 2,200 communes, more than three quarters of departments and two thirds of the regions.

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