Dolly Parton founded the Imagination Library in 1995. Since then, she has used the organization to donate over 182 million books to children.
Dolly Parton’s philanthropy
If you only know Dolly Parton as a country singer, you’re missing out on some of her most amazing work. Born into poverty in Tennessee, Parton has long helped kids and teens in her hometown of Pigeon Forge in the Smoky Mountains learn to read and graduate high school.
She even donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University’s coronavirus research lab – the one that helped created the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine!
Now in her late 70s, Parton has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to help people, but her literacy efforts may be among the most meaningful since she’s changed so many lives.
In 1988, she created the Dollywood Foundation to inspire children in her home region to “achieve educational success.” The foundation gives out scholarships to high school students that want to go on to (an accredited) university but can’t afford it.
The expansion of Dolly Parton’s books for children
Since 1995, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (which is part of the foundation) has been sending high-quality books (not religious tracts or cheaply-printed donations) to children up to age 5 each month. The goal is to get parents to read to kids and get kids reading early (at least until they enter school and have access to books there). As of May 2022, she’s given out over 182 million free books. A family’s income doesn’t matter – no matter how rich or poor, children can receive books if they’re under the age of 5.
Even Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos understands that Parton knows how to do good with money. That’s why in 2022 he gave her $100 million to keep going. Parton herself is the author of many books aimed at children 4 – 7 years old. — WTF fun facts