The Dollywood Foundation – Dolly Parton's Imagination Library (2023)

AboutThe Dollywood Foundation

The Dollywood Foundation – Dolly Parton's Imagination Library (1)

The Dollywood Foundation was created in 1988 byDolly Parton to inspire the children in her home county to achieve educational success. Initial efforts focused on decreasing the drop out rate in the county’s high school. In the early 90’sDolly promised every 7th-grade and 8th-grade student she would personally give them $500 if they graduated from high school. This effort, called theBuddy Program, reduced the drop out rate for these two classes from 35% to 6%. More importantly, the program catalyzed the community to provide additional resources to sustain this improvement in the drop out rate.

In 1995, theFoundation implementedDolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Sevier County, Tennessee. This monthly book gifting program for children under five focused on inspiring a love of books and reading for all preschool children in the county. What was founded as a local program grew into an international movement through the unique partnership among theFoundation, the publisher, the fulfillment centers and the thousands of local organizations who adopted the program. TheImagination Library continues to be the signature program of theFoundation.


TheFoundationalso offers five scholarships to the county’s high school seniors to help further their education at any accredited university. TheDolly Parton Scholarshipis a $15,000 scholarship awarded annually at each high school. The scholarships are for students who have a dream they wish to pursue and who can successfully communicate their plan and commitment to realize their dreams.

TheFoundationalso administers several additional scholarships. In 2016,Dollyprovided a $30,000 scholarship to a young girl in Arkansas to recognize theImagination Library’sachievement of distributing books to 1 million children each month. Once she reaches 18 years of age in 2032 the scholarship will be $60,000.

The My People Fund®

On November 28, 2016, massive fires swept through the county destroying the homes of over
1,000 families in Sevier County. The Dollywood Foundation – Dolly Parton's Imagination Library (2)Dolly asked theFoundation to lead the effort to distribute $1,000 per month for 6 months to the families who lost their primary residence. In two weeks, theFoundationcreatedThe My People Fund,designed the distribution process, and implemented the distribution. In May of 2017, theFoundationconcluded the distribution with the announcement that over $12M had been raised and given to the families who lost their homes. Additional funds raised also provided one-time scholarships to high school seniors whose homes were lost to the fires.

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