Dolly Donates $1M to COVID Research While Getting Some Laughs

Back in April, while the world was wondering if the COVID-19 pandemic might die down in time for kids to get back to school before summer vacation, Dolly Parton wasn’t going to sit back and not help. The philanthropist made an excited post to her Instagram at the time about research towards a “cure” happening at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. 

“I am making a donation of $1 million to Vanderbilt towards that research and to encourage people that can afford it to make donations,” she wrote, signing it “Keep the faith, Dolly.”

She wrote cure – what she meant was a vaccine. The research happening at Vanderbilt was the early stage trials of the Moderna vaccine. And when the news broke in mid-November that the Moderna vaccine was showing an effectiveness in excess of 95 percent, suddenly the entire internet wanted to praise Dolly for ‘curing’ COVID-19.

It’s a fun, tongue-in-cheek response to some long-awaited good news, and while much, much more money than Dolly’s million (and not even all of that) went int Moderna’s trials, the woman deserves some thanks all the same.

Dolly Parton, 74, has never balked at giving back. For decades, the Dollywood Foundation she backs has supported childhood literacy, and she has held benefit concerts in all 50 states for wildlife and HIV/AIDS charities, as well as various disaster reliefs.

“[Dolly] cares so much-” said Vanderbilt CEO and president Jeff Balser after her donation in April. “-about helping others, and we are very grateful for her ongoing support. These funds will help us complete promising research that can benefit millions in their battle with the virus.” Words that seem perhaps prescient – it wasn’t until the end of April that the U.S. reached its first one million confirmed infections. Now in November we are seeing more than a million new cases every 10 days. 

If only we had more people like Dolly Parton.

Source: BBC

Donation News

Dolly Parton Gives $1 Mil to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital

“Twenty-six years ago is when Hannah was diagnosed with leukemia and for five years we didn’t know if we’d be keeping her or not,” said Dolly Parton on Thursday, May 17th, in an auditorium at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. “But Hannah now stands here as our chemo hero. She shows that miracles do happen with good care, great doctors, and great nurses.”

The legendary country singer was referring to Hannah Dennison, her niece. For Hannah’s 30th birthday, she and her aunt visited the hospital that saved her life as a child. In front of an audience of doctors, nurses, patients and families, Parton donated $1 million to the hospital.

“They took such good care of her and just looking at the little faces of the kids going through this and the parents who suffer so much as well; it’s just touching and moving,” said Parton. “If you’re in a position where you can do something, you should do something.”

That is Parton’s general philosophy in life. The country singer has been a big name in American philanthropy for her entire career. Her charitable foundation, Dollywood, provides free books to more than three quarters of a million children and hundreds of libraries, supports hospitals and wildlife conservation, and backs charity drives to help the victims of natural disasters.

Parton decided she would make this donation to mark a landmark in her niece’s life a year ago, when she visited Vanderbilt to release her children’s album, I Believe in You. The album was targeted at children who face heavy challenges in life, such as illness and bullying… children like Hannah.

As a demonstration of gratitude for the donation, Vanderbilt dedicated their rooftop butterfly garden to Hannah Dennison..

“Now that we have Hannah’s butterfly garden, we may come up and do little shows now and then and bring some joy to the kids,” said Parton, raising her guitar.

The Power of Giving

Celebrating Dolly Parton’s Commitment to Literacy

Imagination Library is a nonprofit founded by Dolly Parton in 1995, with the goal of giving free books to children. It began in Sevier County, Tennessee, where Dolly was raised by a father who could not read. In its early stages, the organization sent one free book a month to every child registered from birth until kindergarten. Five years later, it had rolled out nationwide, and by 2003 they had mailed their millionth book. As of 2013, Imagination Library sends out books to over 1.2 million kids in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia.

“I created the Imagination Library as a tribute to my daddy,” Parton said in a letter published on the library’s website. “He was the smartest man I have ever known but I know in my heart his inability to read probably kept him from fulfilling all of his dreams. The seeds of these dreams are often found in books and the seeds you help plant in your community can grow across the world.”

On February 27th, 2018, Imagination Library donated its 100 millionth book, a massive milestone. At an event held at the Library of Congress, she read her own children’s book, Coat of Many Colors, to an audience. The reading is part of her new collaboration with the Library of Congress, in which children’s books will be read aloud by their authors and shared with libraries and viewers around the country via the internet.

Imagination Library is fueled by partnerships with companies that donate the books and shipping resources needed to make Parton’s dreams come true. Other key sponsors include Rotary International and Dollywood, the singer’s own theme park located in the Great Smoky Mountains.

One day after that milestone, nearly another 100,000 books have already gone out. The work is ongoing. Those who want to help or would like to register a child can do so here.