The country singer is known for her charitable efforts and also helped fund research for a coronavirus vaccine.
Dolly Parton is helping fight pediatric infectious disease with a $1 million donation to Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) in Tennessee, reported TODAY. As well as its research into how viruses and bacteria cause disease, preventing resistance to antibiotics, and preventing and treating infections, the center is well known for diagnosing and treating infections in children with cancer. The musician has a long history of donating to help battle diseases, including helping fund research into a vaccine for the coronavirus at the start of the pandemic. VUMC that announced Parton's latest donation. “I love all children. No child should ever have to suffer, and I’m willing to do my part to try and keep as many of them as I can as healthy and safe as possible,” said Parton.
Parton's $1 million donation to coronavirus vaccine research was also made to VUMC, where her good friend Dr. Naji Abumrad works. “Dolly’s previous support to infectious disease research, and also our pediatric cancer program, has already saved countless lives,” Jeff Balser, president and CEO of VUMC and dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said in a statement. “This new gift will bolster our defenses against future threats to the safety of this region and society as a whole. It speaks volumes about her passion for people, and we couldn’t be more thankful.”
Parton is known for her charitable efforts and when asked about it, she said, "I’m just happy that anything I do can help somebody else." It was earlier this year that she announced that Dollywood Parks & Resorts will provide free tuition and cover the cost of books for its employees. The Tennessee-based theme park is jointly owned by country music icon and this program will help its employees pursue higher education as part of the GROW U program. The perk will be made available to all employees pursuing an education. "One of The Dollywood Foundation's key tenets is to 'learn more.' This program is created with that very tenet in mind. We want our hosts to develop themselves through advanced learning to fulfill the foundation's other tenets: care more, dream more, and be more," said the president of Dollywood Company, Eugene Naughton, reported USA Today.
Parton also helped people affected by wildfires in her native Tennessee in 2017, promising them a $1,000-per-month stipend sourced from outside donations and Parton's own foundation. A total of $8.9 million had been distributed to the fire victims, she said later. "I know it felt dark and lonely for so many. But here we are in spring, a time for renewal and a time for hope. I know the money helps but most of all I want people to know we will always provide you a shoulder to lean on," the singer said at the time.
In 1995, Parton launched "Imagination Library," a program that gives a book a month to children until they turn 5, at no cost to the child’s family. The charity, in partnership with Penguin Random House, donated more than 618,000 books to children across the U.K. and Ireland in 2021 alone, reported The Guardian. A new project of "Imagination Library" will see refugee children in London get a book every month until they turn 5. “Children’s books are magical portals that can comfort, console and delight,” said Nadia Shireen, whose book "Billy and the Dragon" was one of the books on the list. “For families who have been through unimaginable upheaval, receiving a book to share may be a small thing, but it will hopefully also be a loving, warm and familiar thing.”