Dollywood Foundation pledges at least $3 million from My People Fund to the Mountain Tough Recovery Team

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Friday, May 5, 2017)
– The Dollywood Foundation administered the final distribution from the
My People Fund on Thursday with recipients noticing an extra surprise
when they received the check.

Thanks to fundraising efforts, Dollywood Foundation officials were
able to provide a $5,000 check to each family as they work to recover
from the Smoky Mountain wildfires which occurred last November.
Beginning last December, the My People Fund provided $1,000 each month to Sevier County families whose primary residences were completely destroyed due to the fires.

In total, recipients received $10,000 as a hand-up to help start
their rebuilding efforts following the fire. The fund, which was
established by Dolly Parton, The Dollywood Company, Parton’s dinner
theaters and The Dollywood Foundation, was supported by contributions
from across the country, as well as donations made through the Smoky
Mountains Rise telethon which took place in early December.

“The My People Fund has been a great success,” said Parton. “I want
to thank my team, the Dollywood Foundation, my friends in the music
business and the thousands of people from all over the country who
opened both their pocketbooks and their hearts to help us.

“Over the last five months, we’ve given nearly 900 families $5,000 to
help them recover. Yesterday, we had our last distribution and I went
over to The LeConte Center to say thanks to all the volunteers and to
help give out a few checks myself. We matched what they’ve received
already with another $5,000 check. I know $10,000 can’t solve
everything, but I do hope the money will help them to dream again.”

In addition to providing initial monetary support to displaced
families through the monthly check distribution, the remaining funds
from the My People Fund will continue to help the people of Sevier County. At least $3 million will be contributed to the Mountain Tough Recovery Team
which will serve the continuing needs of residents during the critical
rebuilding period ahead. This program will begin helping families on
June 1.

“We’re still receiving money, so we aren’t finished yet,” Parton
added. “Recovery will take some time, so a new organization—called
Mountain Tough—has been created to help our people get back on their
feet for the next three years. We’re giving at least $3 million to help
this new organization begin the next chapter of our journey.”

Mountain Tough assists individuals and families recovering from the
wildfires by providing resources for the unmet needs of low-income
families and individuals in Gatlinburg and the surrounding Sevier County
area. The team seeks to restore the quality of life and provide for the
long-term needs of those affected.

“Mountain Tough will help pick up where the My People Fund left off,”
Dollywood Foundation President David Dotson said. “They will be staffed
with case managers who will work to identify the immediate needs of
residents and our funds will be used to address those needs. For
example, it may help with transportation so someone can continue to be
employed, or it may help with medicine for conditions caused by the
fire. The case managers will coordinate with county agencies to ensure
needed assistance is not duplicated and achieves its maximum impact.”

Anyone who wants to help the Mountain Tough Recovery Team with their efforts should visit
for information on how to donate, how to volunteer and much more. The
website is the official source for all information regarding the
recovery effort.

Photo (c) 
My People Fund recipient family

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