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Gatlinburg Relief Fund to Aid Businesses and Employees Affected by Wildfire

Gatlinburg Relief Fund to Aid Businesses and Employees Affected by Wildfire

Sevier County businesses and their employees impacted by the recent wildfires can begin applying for grants from the Gatlinburg Relief Fund on Tuesday.

The Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce Foundation first announced it was establishing the fund Dec. 1, just days after wildfires burned through the area, to directly benefit families impacted by the wildfires. SmartBank is managing the fund and donations can be made at any SmartBank location. The Track in Pigeon Forge recently donated $40,000. The foundation would not disclose the total amount of donations made to that fund.

Qualifying businesses, and employees of qualifying businesses, may submit their grant application to the Gatlinburg Relief Fund beginning Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016

Grants of no more than $1000 may be issued to legitimate Sevier County businesses providing proper documentation, such as a copy of their business license or other proper business ID, that submit an application at the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce Foundation, 811 East Parkway in Gatlinburg.

Employees of businesses that qualify may be eligible for a grant.

“Employees of qualified businesses may qualify for assistance of direct payment of utilities, landlords, and/or other qualified businesses that provide services to said employees,” the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce Foundation said in a letter. “These employees will be vetted through businesses with which they are employed and approved assistance will be in the amount of no more than $500.”

Employees may apply through the foundation or through their employer.

Donations have poured in from across the country into various funds set up to help those affected by the wildfires.

The Dollywood Foundation’s “My People Fund” topped $9 million after airing of the Smoky Mountain Rise telethon. The first distribution payments of $1000 per family who lost their home began last week and will continue for a duration of six months.

About $100,000 has been donated to the Sevier County Fire Relief Fund account at Citizens National Bank.

The Sevier County Community Fund had raised $140,000 as of last Friday, with proceeds from the Mountain Tough Benefit concert featuring the Zac Brown Band held on Saturday still to be added. This fund was set up as an affiliate of the East Tennessee Foundation.

County officials and representatives from each of the funds have been meeting weekly. No funds have been distributed yet from the Sevier County Fire Relief Fund or Sevier County Community Fund. Trudy Hughes, East Tennessee Foundation director of Regional Advancement, says the group is still assessing the needs of the community.

For more information about each of these funds, visit

Photo: Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce/Facebook

About Candice Fitzgibbons

I am a Sevier County resident and active in my local community. I've spent more than 20 years as a graphic designer and copywriter, creating marketing materials to help small to medium sized businesses and non-profit organizations achieve their goals. I have a passion for equality, the environment and animal rights.


  1. If your business burned down you qualify for unemployment foodstamp up FEMA Dolly money all of the centers that are giving you food groceries toiletry everything that you would need but if you didn’t burn down you still have your rent electric phone bills employees to pay gas water clean up from smoke throw away all the food your restaurant lost daily loss of phones and no phones no sales family ran businesses where all where the whole family lost income there’s nothing for us with all the donations all the money pouring into Gatlinburg we get no help we don’t count the hard working citizens business owners of Gatlinburg get nothing no help citizens business owners of Gatlinburg and didn’t burn down and you don’t matter you don’t qualify for food stamps because you own a business you don’t qualify for unemployment because you own a business so even though I’m very happy for everyone that all these donations have help I really feel that Gatlinburg has let family ran and Owned businesses down we haven’t lost a weekly pay check the whole family has lost there income I have watched people who want work five hours a week pick up these checks but we don’t qualify may God bless everyone who donated