Friday, December 9, 2016

Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney, Among Stars Donating to Wildfire Relief

Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney, Dolly Parton and other country artists are donating thousands of dollars to provide relief for those affected by the devastating wildfires in East Tennessee.

Officials behind Dolly Parton's "My People Fund" have confirmed that Swift and the Academy of Country music have each donated $100,000 to the help families who lost everything in the fires. The fund was announced last week as a pledge to donate $1,000 each month to victims of the fire.

"As you may know by now, there have been terrible wildfires in the Great Smoky Mountains, the same mountains where I grew up and where my people call home," Dolly Parton wrote in an earlier statement. "I have always believed that charity begins at home, and my home is someplace special. That's why I've asked my Dollywood companies ... to help me establish the 'My People Fund.' "

“Growing up in East Tennessee, the only thing greater than the beauty of the region is the heart of the people who live there,” said Chesney in a statement. “It is devastating to think of what’s been lost in terms of the fire, but overwhelming for the families facing rebuilding their lives – in many cases – from scratch. I’m appreciative that CMA shares my hope that these families can feel our love at a time of such tragedy.”

More country artists will join Parton for the "Smoky Mountains Rise: A Benefit for the My People Fund" telethon, which will be livestreamed on The Tennessean and USAToday on Tuesday, Dec. 13.

Thursday night, Chris Stapleton, Chris Young and Amy Grant were added to a list of performers that already included Reba McEntire, Kenny Rogers and Alison Krauss as well as Big & Rich, Michael W. Smith, LOCASH, Chris Janson, Montgomery Gentry and others.

“I’m truly honored that these artists are giving their time and energy to help us raise money for everyone affected by the wildfires,” Parton said in a statement. “I’ve got so many great friends in the industry, and I’m so proud that they were so ready to step up and help me help my people in the Smoky Mountains through this telethon and the My People Fund.”

The Dollywood Foundation is accepting donations to contribute to the My People fund. To donate, visit

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