Music legend Dolly Parton has not just given us a series of country hits. She has given her support to various charities.
Throughout her 60-year music career, the country music star has used her fame and fortune to contribute to humanitarian work.
As she deserves, her efforts are seen and appreciated by locals and the international community. In 2019 The ‘Joleen’ singer was awarded the first-ever MusiCares person of the year recognition in light of her charitable work over the years.
The list of foundations she has created and supported is long and far-reaching to many communities worldwide.
The country music star has promoted education, raised funds for music industry professionals, and provided relief for victims of natural disasters.
Following the Gatlinburg fires that ravaged Hometown Pidgeon Ridge, Tennessee, Dolly’s My People campaign fundraised an astonishing amount of money for people who lost their homes to the fires.
Here is a look at exactly how much Dolly raised for the Sevier County fires and some of her other charity work over the years.
How much did Parton raise for the Sevier County fires?
Many will never forget watching or seeing the destruction unfold in Tennessee, Sevier County, in November 2016. Wildfires spread through parts of the Great Smokey Mountains, burning down dozens of homes and businesses and forcing the evacuation of over 14 000 residents and tourists.
Thankfully, Dolly Parton embarked on donation efforts called the ‘My People’ fund, to make the short-term recovery of residents more bearable.
Dolly brought together a team of celebrity friends to perform in a telethon that aired on television networks such as GAC, AXS-TV, and RED-TV.
The telethon featured a combination of live and pre-recorded performances from the likes of Cindy Lauper and Don McLean to Parton herself. Kenny Rogers, Chris Young, Chris Stapleton, and Reba McEntire also formed part of the star-studded line-up.
Like never seen before, people turned to Dolly’s initiative to help revitalize the place loved by tourists and locals- through donations to her ‘My People’ fund.
“The response has been so overwhelming that we haven’t been able to count all of the donations yet; right now, in total, we have raised about $9 million for the folks who lost everything in Sevier County,” Parton said in a statement.
This was not the final figure. The donating platform had been left open for long after the telethon aired on television, and funds kept coming in.
Initially, community members were meant to benefit from $1000 for six months to families, but as funds increased to $12 million, Pigeon Ridge families received an additional $5000 cheque. Residence most needing financial assistance received the remaining money.
Dolly Parton’s charity work
Dolly Parton is not just music’s golden girl, she has a heart of gold. She finds it nearly impossible to refute associating with charities.
Dolly Parton has over the years established or contributed to numerous charity efforts – dedicating money, time, and support to those who need it the most. Here is a look at some of Dolly’s most note-worthy philanthropic contributions.
Relief for music industry professionals
Dolly Parton teamed up with Grand Ole Opry, a weekly American country music stage – to raise funds for the Opry Trust Fund to benefit music industry professionals needing financial relief. According to Fox 17 News, The Opry Trust Fund is a leading form of assistance to music in Tennesse.
With musicians not performing live and generating an income, music industry professionals were some of the hardest hit by the global pandemic.
The country music star offered a custom signed guitar, which Grand Ole Opry would auction. The proceeds from the auction went to struggling music industry professionals to cover expenses like mortgage, medical bills, and utility payments. According to wynpapers.com, Dolly and the Opry Trust fundraised more than $2 million.
Dolly also recently auctioned a signed guitar to help local kids in East Tennessee, reported WVLT News.
The Imagination Library
Launched in 2014, the imagination fund has to be the most heartfelt way of contributing to early child development. The idea behind the Imagination library is to provide a free book to children once a month from when they are born right up until they head to school.
The initiative launched in Sevier County, Tenessee, has given away over 100 million books to children worldwide.
Dolly has raised funds for this initiative through a series of Dollywood benefit concerts and uses the alliances she formed during her music career to maximize donations.
On one occasion, her longtime friend and music legend Kenny Rogers raised $60 000 for Parton’s Imagination Library – through his performance at Dollywood’s showcase of stars benefit concert series. According to the Dolly Parton website,
The total raised at the Dollywood showcase of stars benefit concert series was $635 000.
Advancing Research for Covid-19
Country star Dolly Parton is proud to make advancements in knowledge in any way, and she is doing no less when it comes to advancing research during the Covid-19 pandemic. In April, the country singer gave $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
The Vanderbilt University Medical center, which has since made many advancements in its research, was thrilled to receive the donation from the singer-songwriter.
Fighting against Breast Cancer
Dolly Parton has also been part of the fight against Breast Cancer. Last year the country star teamed up with music stars, Monica, Jordan Sparks, Sara Evans, and Breast Cancer survivor Rita Wilson- to release a song called Pink.
The track written by Erin Kinsey and distributed by Brighter Day Records contained moving lyrics that provide comfort to those who have lost someone to Breast Cancer.
All proceeds from the track were given to Susan G Komen, the world’s leading Breast Cancer organization.
These are just about a few of the charitable works Dolly Parton has contributed to. She has been at it for several years now and probably won’t stop any time soon.
If she is not using the lyrics of her music to uplift her fans, she is motivated by events from her humble family upbringing to reach out to those less fortunate in one way or another.