Kenny Chesney, Taylor Swift Make Massive Donations to Tenn. Wildfire Relief Efforts
Kenny Chesney and Taylor Swift are doling out big bucks to help those affected by the recent wildfires in East Tennessee. Both stars are teaming up with popular country music organizations to donate to the relief efforts in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, including Dolly Parton's My People Fund.
Swift is partnering with the Academy of Country Music to maximize her donation: She's contributed $100,000 to the My People Fund, which will be matched by the ACM's charitable arm, Lifting Lives.
“We are so grateful to Taylor for her support to the Academy’s charitable efforts through the years,” says ACM Managing Director Tiffany Moon, “and for helping us and Dolly Parton assist families in need at a time of crisis.”
The combined $200,000 from Swift and the ACM will be added to fundraising efforts during Smoky Mountains Rise: A Benefit for the My People Fund, a telethon set to be hosted by Parton on Dec. 13. The money will then be given to victims of the fires, which are responsible for 14 deaths and damaged or destroyed more than 2,400 homes and businesses; the My People Fund has already pledged to give $1,000 per month for up to six months to families whose homes are now uninhabitable or were destroyed by the fires.
As a native of East Tennessee himself, Chesney is also making big contributions to the rebuilding efforts in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge: The 2016 CMA Pinnacle Award winner is pledging $250,000 to restoration efforts, with his donation being matched by the Country Music Association.
“Growing up in East Tennessee, the only thing greater than the beauty of the region is the heart of the people who live there,” says Chesney in a press release. “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 [the] CMA shares my hope that these families can feel our love at a time of such tragedy.”
A portion of the combined $500,000 from Chesney and the CMA will go toward Parton's My People Fund, with the remaining money to be distributed through local agencies that are working to identify families, individuals and locations that have the biggest need.
"At [the] CMA, we feel such a strong connection to the residents of the area who have lost loved ones, as well as those that have lost personal property or income from businesses that are now closed,” says CMA Chief Executive Officer Sarah Trahern. “Many of our artists and CMA members have close ties to the region as well; and we are grateful to Kenny for his leadership and honored to support him in the recovery efforts in East Tennessee.”
The Smoky Mountains Rise telethon will air live on Dec. 13 through various radio and television networks from 8PM ET until 11PM ET. Viewers will be able to call 1-866-CARE MORE to donate during the simulcast. Visit DollywoodFoundation.org for more information, or to donate online. Check donation can be sent to:
My People Fund
c/o Dollywood Foundation
111 Dollywood Ln.
Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
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