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Taylor Swift pledges $1M for Nashville tornado relief

Taylor Swift performing her song Lover at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards on Aug. 26, 2019, at the Prudential Center, in Newark, N.J. Netflix / courtesy Everett Collection

Taylor Swift has donated US$1 million towards a tornado relief foundation in Tennessee after several large tornadoes tore through the city of Nashville on Tuesday, killing at least 24 people.

The pop icon took to Instagram stories on Thursday expressing her sadness on the results of the natural disasters.

“Nashville is my home,” she said. “The fact that so many people have lost their homes and so much more in Middle Tennessee is devastating to me.”

Swift, 30, included a link to the the Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund — the organization which she too donated to.

Click to play video: 'Nashville reporter captures tornado sweeping by news station' Nashville reporter captures tornado sweeping by news station
Nashville reporter captures tornado sweeping by news station – Mar 3, 2020

A representative of the Wildest Dreams singer confirmed the hefty donation to the Associated Press (AP) on Thursday.

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The twisters that struck in the hours after midnight shredded more than 140 buildings and buried people in piles of rubble and wrecked basements. The storms moved so quickly that many people in their path could not flee to safer areas.

“It hit so fast, a lot of folks didn’t have time to take shelter,” Putnam County Mayor Randy Porter told AP. “Many of these folks were sleeping.”

The governor declared an emergency and sent the National Guard to help with search-and-rescue efforts. State emergency officials, who initially reported at least 25 dead, revised the toll to 24 fatalities on Tuesday evening after determining one death counted earlier was not storm-related.

This Nov. 24, 2019, file photo shows Taylor Swift at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File).

With its proceeds, the tornado relief foundation is supporting the affected communities and non-profits helping victims address their ongoing needs.

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Ellen Lehman, president of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, issued a statement following the disaster. She said: “We know when disasters strike, there are no quick fixes. We need to support the affected communities and the nonprofits on the ground helping victims and addressing their needs.” 

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Aside from her immensely popular music, Swift is known and loved greatly for her activism and general goodwill. During her victory speech for her wins at the 2018 American Music Awards, she used her time to urge youth and adolescents to go out and vote.

In light of Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April 2018, Swift made a large donation to anti-sexual violence organization Rainn, which supports victims of sexual abuse and educates those in need.

“Thank you @TaylorSwift13 for always standing with survivors,” tweeted the foundation.

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Her generosity even dates back to the early days of her career. She once donated $70,000 worth of books to her hometown library, the Reading Public Library in Pennsylvania.

Over the years she has donated to a variety of additional different charities and causes.

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It wasn’t only Swift, however, who donated to the cause. Ahead of their 2020 tour opener on Friday — a sold-out, two-night run at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena — Country duo Dan + Shay announced that they would donate $100,000 towards tornado relief efforts too.

“We are heartbroken by the devastation the tornadoes left upon Tennessee earlier this week. Our love goes out to everyone affected by this tragedy,” said the musicians in a statement on Thursday, according to Billboard.

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The statement continued: “What this town does best in times of need, is come together, so it is only fitting that our tour starts tomorrow in Nashville. Through the power of music, we will all unite to celebrate the spirit of our incredible city. We will be making a $100,000 donation to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.”

Additionally, Justin Timberlake also took to social media on Thursday urging fans to join him in “supporting and donating” to the victims of the tornadoes.

“Devastated for this city so many of my friends and family call home,” tweeted the former ‘NSync singer.

Timberlake, 39, continued: “Tennesseans are some of the strongest people out there, and I know we’ll stick together and rebuild.”

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READ MORE: Canadian country star Brett Kissel sells out Nashville tornado benefit concert in Edmonton

On top of that, Brett Kissel, the Canadian country star, announced an entire benefit concert in Edmonton to help those whose lives were impacted by the deadly tornadoes in Nashville earlier this week.

Next Wednesday (March 11), Kissel, 29, will perform at the Station on Jasper, promising that all ticket sales will go to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee — which houses the aforementioned Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund.

On Friday, the Drink About Me singer took to Twitter announcing that the benefit gig sold out in only five minutes.

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Kissel said: “This proves one thing: Edmonton, and our province of Alberta has the biggest hearts.

“We are going to do something very special for all those affected in Nashville,” he concluded. “My heart is bursting…”

With files from Karen Bartko and the Associated Press

adam.wallis@globalnews.ca

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