My Life

WATCH: Return To Gatlinburg With Dolly Parton And HLN’s Robin Meade

Published May 24, 2017 / Last Updated June 15, 2017
Team Dolly

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Team Dolly

Dolly Parton sits down with HLN’s Robin Meade in “Return to Gatlinburg”

HLN’s Robin Meade of the Morning Express Show recently visited the Great Smoky Mountains. She talked with Dolly Parton about ongoing recovery efforts and the final My People Fund disbursements.

Robin also visited with one of the families affected and shared their story. Roger Prince and Megan Kelly are just one of the families who lost their home in the devastating wildfires. Robin accompanied the couple as they revisited the site where their home once stood.

Robin also reminds everyone that visiting the Great Smoky Mountains is the best way to show their support. Morning Express with Robin Meade airs weekday mornings on HLN from 6 AM – 11 AM EST.

About My People Fund

The Dollywood Foundation’s My People Fund provided a total of $10,000 (per family) over the course of six months to the more than 900 Sevier County families whose homes were completely destroyed in the Smoky Mountain wildfires. Any family who lost their primary residence (renters and homeowners) due to the wildfires in Sevier County were eligible.

About The Mountain Tough Recovery Team

The mission of the Mountain Tough Recovery Team is to assist individuals and families recovering from the 2016 wildfires in Gatlinburg and the surrounding Sevier County area to rebuild and provide resources for other unmet needs for both homeowners and renters impacted by the fires.

Devastating wildfires claimed the lives of 14 people and destroyed thousands of homes and buildings in Sevier County, TN, on November 28, 2016.

Team DollyWATCH: Return To Gatlinburg With Dolly Parton And HLN’s Robin Meade

Dolly’s My People Fund Finishes “Smokies Strong”

Published May 5, 2017 / Last Updated May 5, 2017
Team Dolly

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Team Dolly

Dolly Parton’s My People Fund presents final checks to families and makes a long-term investment in future recovery efforts!

Smokies Strong, a title the people of Sevier County, TN, have more than earned in the aftermath of the devastating wildfires. They displayed their strength and courage on the very night the fires started and have continued to do so in the following months.

The Dollywood Foundation established the My People Fund just 48 hours after wildfires swept through the county on November 28, 2016. Each month, starting in December 2016, the My People Fund gave $1,000 to every family whose home was lost or destroyed in the fires. May marks the end of the Fund’s six-month pledge to assist the recovery efforts. Due to the tremendous outpouring of donations and support, the My People Fund was able to increase the amount of the final distribution checks from $1,000 to $5,000 (per family). In total, $8.9 million went directly to wildfire victims.

Dolly was on hand at the CARE MORE Assistance Center on May 4 in Pigeon Forge, TN, to present the last checks to three families and to say thank you to the dozens of volunteers who have staffed the effort. Dolly said,

“We started the distribution in December right around the longest night of the year and I know it felt dark and lonely for so many. But here we are in spring, a time for renewal and a time for hope. I know the money helps but most of all I want people to know we will always provide you a shoulder to lean on.”

In addition, Dolly’s My People Fund launched a partnership with the Mountain Tough Recovery Team to continue supporting these families in the coming months by providing $3 million for this effort. Dolly made this announcement during a special media event at Smoky Mountain Adventures in Pigeon Forge, TN, on May 5.

Wildfire Scholarship Fund

Additional contributions, outside of the My People Fund, helped establish and support the Wildfire Scholarship Fund. Thanks to these efforts, every high school junior and senior in Sevier County, whose homes were destroyed by the fires, will receive a $4,500 scholarship.

Today, recovery continues and rebuilding efforts are underway for the people who are and forever will be, Smokies Strong.

About My People Fund

The Dollywood Foundation’s My People Fund provided $1,000 each month for six months to Sevier County families whose homes were uninhabitable or were completely destroyed in the Smoky Mountain wildfires. Any family who lost their primary residence (renters and homeowners) due to the wildfires in Sevier County were eligible.

About The Mountain Tough Recovery Team

The mission of the Mountain Tough Recovery Team is to assist individuals and families recovering from the 2016 wildfires in Gatlinburg and the surrounding Sevier County area to rebuild and provide resources for other unmet needs for both homeowners and renters impacted by the fires.

Devastating wildfires claimed the lives of 14 people and destroyed thousands of homes and buildings in Sevier County, TN, on November 28, 2016.

Team DollyDolly’s My People Fund Finishes “Smokies Strong”

My People Fund Serves Nearly 900 Families

Published December 22, 2016 / Last Updated January 5, 2017
Team Dolly

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Team Dolly

The Dollywood Foundation’s My People Fund served nearly 900 families in the first distribution as donation totals climb to $9.3 million including $250,000 from Food City.

In a little more than two weeks after the wildfires that spread across Dolly Parton’s home area of Sevier County, TN, Dolly and the Dollywood Foundation launched the distribution of assistance from the My People Fund. During the four-day check distribution, 884 families received their initial support payments. Dolly said,

“It’s a blessing during this holiday season that we are able to help as many families as we have so far. We know there are more families out there who need our help and we encourage them to be in contact with us before our January distribution.”

The next distribution is set for January 26 and 27, 2017, at the LeConte Events Center in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

  • Thursday, Jan. 26: Last name A – L
  • Friday, Jan. 27: Last name M – Z

Food City Donation

Thanks to the generosity of Food City, their customers, associates and more, the company presented checks to the Dollywood Foundation’s My People Fund and the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Gatlinburg Relief Fund totaling $750,000. Steven C. Smith, Food City President/CEO said,

“Our company has been privileged to operate in the Sevier County/Gatlinburg area for more than thirty years and we certainly want to do everything possible to help our friends and neighbors recover from this devastating disaster.”

Food City designated $500,000 to benefit the Gatlinburg Relief Fund, while the remaining $250,000 was directed to the My People Fund.

About My People Fund

The Dollywood Foundation’s My People Fund provides $1000 each month to Sevier County families whose homes are uninhabitable or were completely destroyed in the recent Smoky Mountain wildfires. Any family who lost their primary residence (renters and homeowners) due to the wildfires in Sevier County are eligible. A pre-application for those affected is available at DollywoodFoundation.org.

Millions of people watched Smoky Mountains Rise: A Benefit for the My People Fund telethon on Tuesday, December 13 on GAC, AXS-TV, RFD and The Heartland Network and during several rebroadcasts throughout the last weekend. As a result, donations continued to roll in and thanks to generous people from coast to coast and Dolly’s friends, the total amount raised has climbed to $9.3 million. David Dotson, Dollywood Foundation President commented saying,

“As, Dolly said, the response has been overwhelming. We will distribute all $9.3 million to the families affected. That will insure all of the money raised will go to where Dolly promised it would.”

Team DollyMy People Fund Serves Nearly 900 Families

Dollywood Foundation Distributes My People Fund Checks

Published December 19, 2016 / Last Updated January 5, 2017
Team Dolly

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Team Dolly

Sevier County residents who lost their homes in the wildfires received $1000 checks from the My People Fund.

One by one, people who lost everything in the Tennessee wildfires are getting a “hand up” in the form of $1000 checks from the Dollywood Foundation’s My People Fund. The Foundation began distributing hundreds of checks on Thursday, Dec. 15. Over the next four business days, the process will continue for those who qualify.

The Foundation staff and volunteers are moved by the touching stories of the people visiting the CARE MORE Assistance Center. Many of those who came in for assistance wanted to share their stories

 
 
 
 

To date, nearly $9 million has been raised for the My People Fund and the need is still great. According to the Foundation, the number of people needing help is still unknown.

Inside the LeConte Events Center checks are given out in what is called the CARE MORE Assistance Center. In addition to My People Fund checks, Dollar General is on hand giving out toys and gift cards. Tanger Outlets has also generously donated gift cards as well.

About My People Fund

On Dec. 1, Dolly Parton announced a new effort by The Dollywood Foundation, The Dollywood Company and all her dinner show attractions including Dixie Stampede, Lumberjack Adventure and Pirates Voyage to establish a fund to assist the victims of the Great Smoky Mountain wildfires in Tennessee. The My People Fund will provide $1000 each month for up to six months to Sevier County families who lost their homes.

To learn more about My People Fund, get assistance or to make a donation, visit DollywoodFoundation.org.

Team DollyDollywood Foundation Distributes My People Fund Checks

Smoky Mountains Rise: A Benefit for the My People Fund

Published December 14, 2016 / Last Updated January 5, 2017
Team Dolly

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Team Dolly

Dolly Parton and a host of artists and celebrities took to the airwaves on Tuesday night during Smoky Mountains Rise: A Benefit for the My People Fund.

They had one goal in mind, to raise funds for the victims of the Tennessee wildfires. The three-hour star-studded event was packed with beautiful performances, emotional stories and a collective message of hope.

Viewers pledged their support by calling, texting and going online to DollywoodFoundation.org.

The night’s performances included songs by Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Hank Williams Jr., Chris Stapleton, Reba McEntire, Alison Krauss, Michael W. Smith, Chris Janson, Big & Rich, LOCASH, Chris Young, Montgomery Gentry, Jamey Johnson, Cyndi Lauper, Don McLean, Amy Grant, Alabama, Aaron Lewis and Rhonda Vincent.

The heroic efforts of the first responders were celebrated during the live telecast. Also, viewers were reminded of Sevier County’s world-famous hospitality and renowned entertainment venues ready and waiting for them in East Tennessee. Dolly encouraged people to visit Sevier County and the Great Smoky Mountains.

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and First Lady Crissy Haslam made a special appearance, and several celebrities greeted viewers in heartfelt video messages including Katy Perry, Carrie Underwood, Larry King, Steve Harvey, Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland, and Today Show’s Willie Geist.

Dolly shared her hosting duties with friends HLN’s Robin Meade, GAC’s Suzanne Alexander and Nan Kelly, The Bobby Bones Show’s Bobby Bones, SiriusXM’s Storme Warren, Crook & Chase hosts Lorianne Crook and Charlie Chase, NASH Nights LIVE’s Shaun Parr and Elaina D. Smith, and TuneIn Country Roads’ Kelly Sutton.

Celebrities donating their time to answer phones included: Paula Deen and her sons Bobby and Jamie, Chrisley Knows Best cast members Todd, Julie and Savannah, Moonshiners’ cast members Mark and Digger, Nashville’s Charles Esten, cast members of Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors, country hit-makers Chris & Morgane Stapleton, Terri Clark, Mark Wills, Lee Greenwood, Larry Gatlin, T.G. Sheppard, Highway 101’s Paulette Carlson, John Conlee, Ronnie McDowell, Kristian Bush, Tim Rushlow, T. Graham Brown, Dolly’s nieces Rebecca Seaver and Danielle Parton, bluegrass hitmakers Lorraine Jordan and Darrin Vincent, comedian Henry Cho, KC of KC and the Sunshine Band, hot new country artists Brett Young, Cassadee Pope, RaeLynn, Danielle Bradbury, Lucas Hoge, Denny Strickland, songwriter Becky Hobbs, and members of the Tennessee Titans.

Nearly $500,000 of donations were committed before the Smoky Mountains Rise telethon began. The ACM donated $100,000 to the fund, with Taylor Swift matching the amount, while the CMA donated $125,000 accompanied by a matching donation by East Tennessean Kenny Chesney.

About My People Fund

More than 1300 families have been displaced due to the wildfires which spread across Dolly’s home area of Sevier County, Tennessee in late November. The entertainment icon established the Dollywood Foundation My People Fund to provide $1000 each month for six months to every family who lost their primary residence. Currently, the monthly pledge is in excess of $1.3 million each month.

Donate Online At DollywoodFoundation.org

About Tennessee Wildfires

On Nov. 28, devastating wildfires burned some 17,000 acres in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The fires also affected parts of Gatlinburg and Sevier County, TN. Sadly, 14 people lost their lives in these terrible fires, and over 100 confirmed injuries were reported. Over 14,000 people were evacuated during the fires which damaged or destroyed more than 1,700 structures (homes, businesses and churches). In Gatlinburg alone, officials estimate the wildfires caused more than $500 million in damage.

Team DollySmoky Mountains Rise: A Benefit for the My People Fund