Dolly Parton laughs at the idea that she is some kind of secret philanthropist.
Sure enough, social media savvy pieced together this week that the nation’s superstar had been quietly paying for the band uniforms of several Tennessee high schools for years. And yes, it took her decades to reveal that she used songwriting royalties earned from her version of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” to buy a strip mall in Nashville in her honor to support the surrounding black neighborhood. had to have. Oh, and it eventually emerged that Parton had donated US$1 million to research that helped create the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19.
“I don’t do it for attention,” she told the Associated Press in an interview, shortly before receiving the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy at Gotham Hall in New York City on Thursday night. “But look! I’m getting a lot of attention doing this.”
In fact, Parton believes she receives a great deal of attention for her philanthropic work – which ranges from promoting early childhood literacy to supporting people affected by natural disasters and many more through her Dollywood Foundation. The college is up to awarding scholarships.
“Maybe I get more attention than some other people who are doing more than me,” Parton said, adding that she hopes meditation inspires more people to help others.
In his Carnegie Medal speech of philanthropy, Parton said he doesn’t really have a strategy for his charity.
“I just give from my heart,” she said. “I never know what I’m going to do or why I’m going to do it. I just see a need and if I can fill it, I will.”
There is a need that Parton focuses on instilling in children a love of reading. His Imagination Library initiative sends a free book each month to children under five whose parents request them. Currently, Parton sends out about 2 million free books each month.
“It really started because my father couldn’t read and write and I saw how crippling it could be,” she said. “My dad was a very smart man. And I often wondered what he could do if he was able to read and write. So that’s the motivation.”
That program continues to expand. And last month, the state of California partnered with the Imagination Library to make the program available to millions of children under the age of five in the state.
“It’s a big deal,” she said. “That’s a lot of kids. And we’re so honored and proud of all the communities that do this because I get so much glory for the work that so many people are doing.”
Parton said she would accept that meditation because it advances the cause. “I’m proud that I’m doing whatever I can to get more books into the hands of more kids,” she said.
Eric Isaacs, president of the Carnegie Institution for Science and member of the medal selection committee, said Parton is a “tremendous example” of someone who understands the importance of philanthropy.
“Everybody knows his music,” he said. “They may know Dollywood more widely for entertainment. But now they will know it for its philanthropy, which I’m not sure they have before.”
If Parton did not make philanthropy a priority in his life, it may be difficult to balance it with all of his other activities.
She released the best-selling novel “Run, Rose, Run” in March, co-written with James Patterson. She filmed the holiday movie “Dolly Parton Mountain Magic Christmas” with Willie Nelson, Miley Cyrus and Jimmy Fallon for NBC. And she will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on November 5 along with Eminem, Lionel Richie and Pat Benatar – an honor she initially declined, but then accepted graciously.
“I’m ready to rock,” she said, adding that she’s already written a new song, especially for that ceremony in Los Angeles.
But Parton is also ready to expand his philanthropic work. This year, he launched the Care More initiative at his Dollywood Parks & Resorts, which gives employees a day off to volunteer at a nonprofit of their choice.
“I think it’s important for everyone to do their part to help their fellow man,” she said. “This world is so crazy. I don’t think we even know what we’re doing to each other and to this world.”
Parton says she hopes the day of service will make people realize that “when you help someone, it helps them, but it can help you more.”
“That’s what we should do as humans,” she said. “I never understood why we have to let religion and politics and things like that stand in the way of just being good people. I think from that point of view it’s important to feel like you’re doing your part, something Doing well and doing well and right.”
Associated Press coverage of philanthropy and nonprofits is supported through AP’s collaboration with The Conversation US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. AP is solely responsible for this content.