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November 16, 2016

Penn, Bon Jovi, Eagles help to save Ben Franklin's gravesite damaged by pennies

Big names in the area have stepped up to bat after the Christ Church Preservation Trust created a GoFundMe page to help save Benjamin Franklin's gravesite.

The fundraising effort was created after a large crack developed from admirers throwing pennies on the marble ledger to pay homage to Franklin's famous phrase, "A penny saved is a penny earned." 

The GoFundMe, started Nov. 1, has raised more than $11,600 to surpass its $10,000 goal with the help of the University of Pennsylvania, which Franklin founded, along with the Philadelphia Eagles, Jon and Dorothea Bon Jovi and many smaller contributions, said Barbara Hogue, executive director of Christ Church at Arch Street and Independence Mall.

"We are astonished to reach our goal so quickly," Hogue said.The Eagles gave the historic Old City church $1,000, while the Bon Jovis contributed $5,000.

The trust originally hoped to have the fund by Dec. 31 so the grave could be preserved in time for the anniversary of Franklin's death in April.

Hogue said that while they've surpassed their goal, the church is still encouraging donations that will be set aside for future preservation efforts for the gravesite.

Franklin is one of seven who signed the Declaration of Independence who's buried at the grounds. The trust opened a brick wall so the public could see Franklin's gravesite in 1858.