GATLINBURG, Tenn. — A study is examining the effectiveness of a fund established by famed country music artist Dolly Parton for victims impacted by deadly Tennessee wildfires last year.

The Dollywood Foundation says its My People Fund helped 900 families with roughly $9 million in the first six months after the fires.

University of Tennessee professor Stacia West tells the Knoxville News Sentinel she and two graduate students surveyed 100 fund recipients who volunteered. A preliminary report about the findings was released on Thursday.

West says she “was surprised by the big increase” in how much recipients had to spend on rent. She also says recipients were grateful to receive checks as opposed to in-kind donations.

A woman indicted Sept. 12 became the sixth person accused in a scheme to defraud the fund.


Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel, http://www.knoxnews.com