Updated Apr 18, 2019

After Notre Dame fire, donations spike for torched black churches

Fire Lt. Sean Egan in the burned-out Meridian Hill Baptist church. Photo: Gerald Martineau/The Washington Post/Getty Images

A crowdfunding page for 3 historically black Louisiana churches devastated by arson exceeded its target of raising $1.8 million, after experiencing a spike in donations following Monday's Notre Dame fire.

The latest: Organizers for the Seventh District Baptist Church Fires St Landry fundraising site stopped accepting donations Saturday evening after raising more than $2.1 million.

Why it matters: Authorities have filed 3 charges of hate crimes and 3 of arson against a white man, Holden Matthews, 21, the son of a sheriff's deputy. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, ATF, and FBI are working with state and local law enforcement on the case. Matthews has pleaded not guilty but is being held in jail without bond.

The backdrop: On Sunday, the fundraising page had raised less than $50,000, but donations were soaring by the tens of thousands after journalist Yashar Ali highlighted the churches' fundraiser in the wake of the Notre Dame appeal — prompting prominent Americans to also publicize the cause.

The big picture: All donations on the Seventh District Baptist Church Fires St Landry GoFundMe page will be distributed equally among the 3 churches "for not only rebuilding their sanctuaries, but for the purchase of all necessities lost in the fires, including pews, sound system, musical instruments," the page states.

Go deeper

Debate night: Candidates' last face-off before Super Tuesday

Sanders, Biden, Klobuchar and Steyer in South Carolina on Feb. 25. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders wants to keep his momentum after winning New Hampshire and Nevada, while former Vice President Joe Biden hopes to keep his own campaign alive. The other five candidates are just trying to hang on.

What's happening: Seven contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination are in Charleston, South Carolina, for the tenth debate, just days before the South Carolina primary and a week before Super Tuesday. They're talking about health care, Russian interference in the election, the economy and race.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Sanders to Putin: You won't interfere in any more elections if I'm president

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Sen. Bernie Sanders sent a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the debate stage Tuesday, stating, "If I'm president of the United States, trust me, you're not going to interfere in any more American elections."

The big picture: It was unveiled last week that Russia has been interfering to boost Sanders' campaigns in an apparent attempt to strengthen President Trump's bid for reelection. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that "Vladimir Putin thinks that Donald Trump should be president of the United States, and that's why Russia is helping [Sanders] get elected.

Axios Dashboard

Keep up with breaking news throughout the day — sign up for our alerts.