A Timeline of Dolly Parton’s Good Deeds (2023)

Dolly Parton is not only wildly talented, but she’s also charitable.

As the coronavirus began to spread worldwide in April 2020, the icon donated $1 million to the disease’s research at Vanderbilt University, which helped fund Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. Data released this week shows that Moderna’s vaccine is 94.5% effective against coronavirus, marking the second vaccine with a high success rate.

But her coronavirus efforts are hardly the first time Parton has used her success for good. Besides her support for the Black and LGBTQ+ communities, plus generous donations to the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, Save the Music Foundation, the Boot Campaign and more, see below for a timeline of the country star’s biggest philanthropic efforts.

1988 – The Dollywood Foundation

Parton originally launched the organization in her home county ofSevier County, Tennessee, with the goal of decreasing high school drop out rates. She then started the Buddy Program, in whichParton gave $500 to every seventh and eighth grader who finished high school. According to the organization, the initiative was successful and the dropout rate declined from 35 percent to just 6 percent.

1989 – $500 scholarship

Parton offered a $500 scholarship to every student in Sevier County who wished to attend Hiwassee College.

1991 –Eagle Mountain Sanctuary at Dollywood

The 30,000-square-foot aviary managed by the American Eagle Foundation shelters the largest collection of “non-releasable” bald eagles.Parton’s efforts to preserve the bald eagle earned her the Partnership Award from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2003.

1995 – Imagination Library

The Dollywood Foundation’s Imagination Library began sending one book per month to each enrolled child in Sevier County from birth until their first year of school. The library was founded in honor of Parton’s father, who was unable to read.

2000 – The Dolly Parton Scholarship

Every year, the $15,000 college scholarship is offered to five high school seniors in Sevier County, Tennessee. According to theDollywood Foundation, the scholarship is awarded to those who “have a dream they wish to pursue and who can successfully communicate their plan and commitment to realize their dreams.”

(Video) The Dark History Of Dolly Parton

2007 – Benefit concert for new Sevier County hospital

The concert raised $500,000, and both Dollywood and Parton’s Dixie Stampede dinner theater pledged $250,000 each to the project, for a total of $1 million. LeConte Medical Center, the new hospital and cancer center in Sevier County, opened in 2010 and features a30,000-square-foot Dolly Parton Center for Women’s Services.

2016 – Telethon after devastating East Tennessee wildfires

TheSmoky Mountains Rise: A Benefit for the My People Fund, which aimed to help residents hit hardest in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, raised more than $13 million.Chris Stapleton,Chris Young, Kenny Rogers,Lauren Alaina,Alison Krauss,Reba McEntire,Cyndi Lauperand more appeared at the event.

2016 – My People Fund

To continue her wildfire relief efforts, Parton launched the My People Fund, whichprovided $1,000 a month for six months to families whose homes were completely destroyed amid the natural disaster. The fund also donated around $8.9 million to those in need. The initiative still helps residents payfor rent and utilities, plus food and mental health resources.

2016 – Special Merit Scholarship

Parton awarded a $30,000 scholarship to two-year-oldEvey Johns in celebration of Imagination Library’s accomplishment of shipping out one million books per month.

2017 – $1 million donation

Following the release of her I Believe in You children’s album,Parton donated $1 million to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in honor of her niece, who was treated for leukemia at that hospital.

2020 – Coronavirus efforts

Parton donated $1 million to coronavirus research at Vanderbilt University, which helped fund Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. Moderna’s vaccine is94.5% effective against coronavirus, according to early data.

(Video) The Life and Career of Dolly Parton

2021 – Middle Tennessee Flooding Relief

Parton and her Smoky Mountain businesses raised $700,000 to help residents impacted by the catastrophic flooding in Middle Tennessee in October 2021. Parton chose United Way of Humphreys County to receive and distribute the donation at the suggestion of her friend and fellow country music legend Loretta Lynn.

“After the Sevier County wildfires in 2016, Loretta was one of the first who reached out to offer anything she could,” Parton said in astatement at the time. “It meant so much to me that Loretta — and so many folks — were ready to give in any way they could. This was just one small way I could help Loretta’s people for all they did to help my people. I hope that this money can be put to good use to help the people of Middle Tennessee with what they need during their recovery.”

2022 – Dollywood Education Coverage

The Dollywood Co. announced in February 2022 that it will cover 100% of tuition, fees and books for any employee who is furthering their education.

The investment in employee education was made via Herschend Enterprises, Dollywood’s operating partner. The program is available to all seasonal, part-time and full-time employees at Dollywood Parks & Resorts. Herschuend’s GROW U. offers more than 100 fully funded diploma, degree and certificate programs with 30 learning partners in areas including business administration and leadership, culinary, finance, technology and marketing. The company also provides partial funding — up to $5,250 per year — for 150 additional programs in fields including hospitality, engineering, human resources and more. Employees can enroll in the program on their first day of employment.

2022 – Pediatric Infectious Disease Research Donation

Parton made yet another $1 million donation to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville in June 2022, this time aimed at helping pediatric infectious disease research.

The donation will aid Vanderbilt’s Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases to continue its effort in understanding how viruses and bacteria cause disease, understanding and preventing resistance to antibiotics, diagnosing and treating infections in children with cancer and more.

2022 – Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

Parton received the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy in 2022. The award, presented by the international family of Carnegie institutions to honor innovative philanthropists, debuted in 2001 and is normally awarded every two years. It was not issued in 2021 due to the pandemic.


What good things did Dolly Parton do? ›

She's long been a champion for causes that range from childhood literacy to environmental conservation, donated $1 million to help develop the COVID-19 vaccine, and received $100 million from billionaire Jeff Bezos to continue her charitable work in 2022.

How did Dolly Parton impact the world? ›

In 1988, she set up the Dollywood Foundation, initially an education foundation to decrease the high school dropout rates in Tennessee. In 1995 the foundation set up Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, a book-gifting program that now distributes 1m books a month to children worldwide.

What are 3 interesting facts about Dolly Parton? ›

7 Fun Facts About Dolly Parton, the Queen of Country
  • She Was Born REALLY Poor. ...
  • She's Got Guinness Records. ...
  • Her Nails Are a Musical Instrument! ...
  • Parton's 'Imagination Library' has mailed 172 million books to kids. ...
  • She Doesn't Ride the Rides at Dollywood. ...
  • She Wrote Two of Her Biggest Hits During the Same Session.
Jan 19, 2022

Why is Dolly Parton a good leader? ›

Parton's hardworking upbringing, simple farm family values, strong faith in God, and musical influence set the stage for her success as a servant leader. Servant leadership, a concept that encourages putting the needs of others before your own, transforms lives and raises leaders.

Did Dolly Parton save a life? ›

But lucky for Hill, somebody grabbed and pulled her back. When she looked up, she was surprised to find out that the person who saved her was none other than Dolly Parton. “I was in shock, she hugged me and shook me and said, 'I saved your life!' ” Hill said.

What does Dolly Parton do to give back? ›

Parton is known for donating books to children through her foundation's Imagination Library.

How is Dolly Parton a hero? ›

In 2020, she helped fund the Moderna vaccine

Just when you think this woman couldn't get any better, she literally helped to save the world. Parton donated another million dollars to the Vanderbilt University Medical Centre in 2020 to help research potential vaccines at the height of the pandemic.

What are Dolly Parton's biggest accomplishments? ›

Parton joined the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2001. The Recording Academy honored her with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. She has also won thirteen ACMs, ten Grammys, and nine CMAs as of April 2022.

Why do people care about Dolly Parton? ›

“Dolly is so popular today because she has become more than a singer/songwriter,” says Ted Miller, vice chair of the Dollywood Foundation. “While she has earned a place in history for being multitalented, she is truly loved for her kind and true heart.” But her kind heart is just one of her endearing qualities.

What is one of Dolly Parton's famous quotes? ›

If you don't like the road you're walking, start paving another one.” “You'll never do a whole lot unless you're brave enough to try.” “I'm not going to limit myself just because people won't accept the fact that I can do something else.” “We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.”

Is Dolly Parton a good role model? ›

To many fans, Dolly Parton is more than just an iconic musician and a living legend, she's a role model for success.

Why does Dolly Parton wear no gloves? ›

According to Dolly's creative director Steve Summers, the singer wears gloves as a matter of style. “She doesn't like her elbows,” Steve told InStyle. “[They ask] 'what's wrong with her hands? ' She's 73, and she doesn't like them!”

Why does Dolly Parton cover her arms and hands? ›

Dolly Parton is always wearing fingerless gloves and long-sleeved outfits. The country singer may be covering up scars and tattoos. Dolly's creative director, Steve Summers, said she wears them to hide certain features like her hands and elbows.

What is Dolly Parton giving away? ›

What is Dolly Parton's charity? Parton's charity is the Dollywood Foundation back in her hometown of Sevierville, Tennessee. She founded it back in 1988, with the intent of helping children in the region with their education.

How much sleep does Dolly Parton get? ›

As it turns out, she does not sleep all that often, getting just three to five hours per night. Apparently, she's fine with this amount of sleep and can function perfectly. “I'm a very, very, very early riser,” Parton noted in the interview. “I go to bed pretty early, but I'm up and down.

Why does Dolly Parton cover her skin? ›

Parton confessed to Vanity Fair: "Most of the tattoos, when I first started, I was covering up some scars that I had, 'cause I have a tendency to have keloid scar tissue. "I have a tendency where if I have any kind of scars anywhere, then they kind of have a purple tinge that I can never get rid of.

What is Dolly Parton's legacy? ›

With a career spanning more than 50 years, Parton has composed over 3,000 songs, won numerous awards, including multiple Grammys and two Academy Awards, and captured the heart of America.

How many babies did Dolly Parton have? ›

They do not have children, but Parton has been involved in the lives of millions of kids through her Imagination Library, which has given more than 100 million books to children from birth until they enter kindergarten.

Does Dolly Parton have tattoos? ›

The 76-year-old revealed to PEOPLE, "I do have some tattoos, that's true. But they're tasteful. I'm not a tattoo girl." Dolly admitted she's gotten ink to help cover up her scars from procedures and previous surgeries.

What did Dolly Parton believe in? ›

Dolly occasionally speaks of a fear of God, but it is the love of God, and her unwillingness to make her belief system anything other than particular to herself, that defines her Christianity.

What are 5 famous quotes? ›

Quotes by Famous People
  • The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. - ...
  • The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. - ...
  • Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. ...
  • If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor. -
Jan 2, 2023

What are good short quotes? ›

Inspirational Short Quotes and Sayings

“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

What is leadership quotes by Dolly Parton? ›

If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.

What personality type is Dolly Parton? ›

Enneagram Type Two: The Giver. Dolly Parton has a huge heart, quintessential of an Enneagram Two (a.k.a. The Giver).

Who did Dolly Parton want to look like? ›

Parton, 76, said she had an idea of what image she was trying to portray. “The way I look and the way I looked then was a country girl's idea of glam, just like I wrote in my 'Backwoods Barbie' song, but people wanted me to change,” she said. “They thought I looked cheap, but I patterned my look after the town tramp.

Why Dolly Parton is a hero? ›

She holds two Guinness World Records. Dolly is the only country artist who can say that she has had a Top 20 hit on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart for six consecutive decades. She also outpaces all other female country artists with 107 hits to make the chart.

Why is Dolly a hero? ›

Just when you think this woman couldn't get any better, she literally helped to save the world. Parton donated another million dollars to the Vanderbilt University Medical Centre in 2020 to help research potential vaccines at the height of the pandemic.

Is Dolly a girl or boy? ›

Dolly is a girl's name that is English in origin.

Did Dolly have babies? ›

I didn't have children because I believed that God didn't mean for me to have kids so everybody's kids could be mine, so I could do things like Imagination Library because if I hadn't had the freedom to work, I wouldn't have done all the things I've done,” Parton said on Today.


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