Historically black Louisiana churches receive $2.6M to rebuild after fires

Historically black Louisiana churches receive $2.6M to rebuild after fires
© Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal

Three historically black churches in Louisiana that burned in a string of fires in April will receive a combined $2.6 million after more than 38,000 donors contributed to a crowdfunding effort.

The GoFundMe campaign launched April 10 surpassed its $1.8 million goal by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Each church received $866,000 Sunday night, according to reporter Yashar Ali, who has written for HuffPost and New York Magazine and helped make the online fundraiser go viral.

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Ali tweeted about the fundraiser in April, raising its profile online and getting attention from politicians and celebrities, including comedian Seth Meyers and former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBroadway play 'Hillary and Clinton' closing early due to low ticket sales Broadway play 'Hillary and Clinton' closing early due to low ticket sales Facing challenge from Warren, Sanders touts strength against Trump MORE

A surge in donations came after the Notre Dame Cathedral fire in Paris in April. Ali tweeted "the rebuild of Notre Dame will be well funded" but the Louisiana churches needed help.

The funds will benefit the Seventh District Baptist Association, lead by President Freddie Jack. The donations will go toward the rebuilding of St. Mary Baptist Church, Greater Union Baptist Church and Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church. 

A 21-year-old suspect has been charged with hate crimes in the alleged arson incidents. All three churches were empty at the time of the fires.