Baltimore Ravens majority owner Steve Bisciotti has donated $100,000 to help rebuild three historically black churches destroyed by arson in Louisiana as donations soared to more than $2 million this week.
Former Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson tweeted the news Wednesday after concerns were raised by critics that no wealthy individual had come forward to assist the three destroyed churches compared to the nearly $1 billion raised to restore the damaged Notre Dame in France.
“Happy to say that there was at least one early on. @ravens owner Steve Bisciotti called me Sunday. He committed 100k. Thankful for his willingness to help others,” Watson announced.
St. Mary Baptist Church, Greater Union Baptist Church and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church were all burned to the ground in a 10-day period over the past month in St. Landry Parish.
As of Saturday, a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the churches soared to more than $2 million after journalist and activist Yashar Ali began tweeting about the initial lack of support compared to the Notre Dame.
The campaign to help the three churches was launched by the Seventh District Baptist Association.
Ruth V. Jack, the finance secretary of the organization expressed thanks to everyone who supported the campaign and announced Saturday that they would be ending it since they exceeded their $1.8 million goal.
“Thank you for your overwhelming support through donations,
prayers, kind thoughts, messages and offers of service to restoring St. Mary
Baptist Church, Greater Union Baptist Church and Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church.
We have surpassed our goal thanks to your generosity. God has truly been glorified
throughout this campaign,” she wrote in an update.
“We are truly thankful and grateful to God for the outpouring of support received for this campaign from all 50 states and 40 countries. With that said, since we have exceeded our goal, we will stop accepting donations through this go fund me campaign, but the campaign site will remain in order to keep you updated on the building progress for each church,” she noted. “Your contributions will be distributed equally to the three churches and utilized by them, not only in the building of their new sanctuaries, but also for the purchase of pulpits, pews, baptismals, instruments, bibles, hymnals, etc.”
Holden Matthews, a white man and the son of a sheriff’s deputy, was arrested last week on three charges of arson of a religious building. He has pleaded not guilty but the 21-year-old is now facing hate crime charges in the arson cases.