Dolly Parton speaks about her donation strategy


Dolly Parton laughs at the concept that she is a few kind of secret philanthropist.

Sure, social media sleuths did piece collectively this week that the nation celebrity had been quietly paying for the band uniforms of many Tennessee excessive colleges for years. And sure, it did take a long time for her to disclose that she used the songwriting royalties she earned from Whitney Houston’s model of “I Will Always Love You” to buy a strip mall in Nashville to help the encompassing Black neighborhood in her honor. Oh, and it did ultimately come out that Parton had donated US$1 million for analysis that helped create the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19.

“I do not do it for consideration,” she informed The Associated Press in an interview, shortly earlier than she obtained the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy at Gotham Hall in New York City Thursday night time. “But look! I’m getting lots of consideration by doing it.”

In truth, Parton believes she will get an excessive amount of consideration for her philanthropic work — which ranges from selling childhood literacy to supporting these affected by pure disasters and offering quite a few faculty scholarships via her Dollywood Foundation.

“I receives a commission extra consideration than perhaps some others which are doing greater than me,” Parton stated, including that she hopes that spotlight conjures up extra individuals to assist others.

In her Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy speech, Parton stated she does not actually have a strategy for her donations.

“I simply give from my coronary heart,” she stated. “I by no means know what I’m going to do or why I’m gonna do it. I simply see a necessity and if I can fill it, then I’ll.”

One want Parton does give attention to filling is fostering a love of studying in kids. Her Imagination Library initiative sends a free guide each month to kids beneath 5 whose mother and father request them. Currently, Parton sends out about 2 million free books every month.

“This really began as a result of my father couldn’t learn and write and I noticed how crippling that could possibly be,” she stated. “My dad was a really sensible man. And I usually questioned what he might have achieved had he been capable of learn and write. So that’s the inspiration.”

That program continues to broaden. And final month, the state of California partnered with Imagination Library to make this system accessible to the thousands and thousands of youngsters beneath 5 within the state.

“That is an enormous deal,” she stated. “That’s lots of kids. And we’re so honored and proud to have all of the communities that make that occur as a result of I get lots of glory for the work an entire lot of persons are doing.”

Parton stated she’ll settle for that spotlight as a result of it furthers the trigger. “I’m proud to be the voice on the market doing what I can to get extra books into the arms of extra kids,” she stated.

Eric Isaacs, president of the Carnegie Institution for Science and a member of the medal choice committee, stated Parton is a “great instance” of somebody who understands the significance of philanthropy.

“Everyone is aware of her music,” he stated. “They would possibly know Dollywood for leisure, extra broadly. But now they are going to know her for her philanthropy, which I’m unsure they’ve earlier than.”

If Parton did not make philanthropy a precedence in her life, it could possibly be troublesome to stability it with all her different pursuits.

She launched “Run, Rose, Run,” a best-selling novel co-written with James Patterson, in March. She filmed the vacation film “Dolly Parton’s Mountain Magic Christmas” with Willie Nelson, Miley Cyrus and Jimmy Fallon for NBC. And she will likely be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Nov. 5, alongside Eminem, Lionel Richie and Pat Benatar — an honor she initially declined, however then graciously accepted.

“I’m able to rock,” she stated, including that she has already written a brand new music, particularly for that ceremony in Los Angeles.

But Parton can be able to broaden her philanthropic work. This yr, she launched the Care More initiative at her Dollywood Parks and Resorts, which provides staff a time off to volunteer at a nonprofit of their alternative.

“I feel it is essential for everybody to do their share to assist their fellow man,” she stated. “This world is so insane. I do not suppose we even know what we’re doing to one another and to this world.”

Parton says she hopes the day of service will let individuals notice that “once you assist someone, it helps them, however it might assist you extra.”

“That’s what we must always do as human beings,” she stated. “I by no means fairly understood why now we have to let faith and politics and issues like that stand in the way in which of simply being good human beings. I feel it is essential from that standpoint simply to really feel such as you’re doing all of your half, doing one thing first rate and good and proper.”


Associated Press protection of philanthropy and nonprofits receives help via the AP’s collaboration with The Conversation US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. The AP is solely liable for this content material.


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