Dolly Parton: The Heart Of Country Music
The images of the 2016 wildfires that tore through Tennessee were unsettling. The wildfires claimed seven lives and forced 14,000 people from their homes. Homelessness can happen to anyone.
Country music star Dolly Parton recalls watching the developments in horror. Parton’s theme park, Dollywood, was evacuated due to its proximity to the fires, but ultimately the park was spared.
That’s when Parton stepped up to share her good fortune with her Tennessee neighbours who lost their homes in the fires. Parton establishment the “My People Fund” which provided $1,000 a month to newly homeless wildfire victims for up to six months.
"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 a statement at the time. "I have always believed that charity begins at home. That's why I've asked my Dollywood companies ... to help me establish the 'My People Fund.'
Dolly Parton’s support extended beyond families to include contributions to volunteer fire stations in the area, donations that totalled $200,000 in recognition of their bravery and service to the community.
Parton has long been a dedicated philanthropist, with charitable work in the areas children’s literacy and health care. She and her foundation are credited with reviving the economy of Tennessee’s Sevier County by creating jobs and tax revenue and attracting tourists.
Source: Ellen Killoran, Forbes