Dolly Parton makes the world a better place. The “Jolene” singer is universally well-liked regardless of the race, class, or gender of her audience members. Even as the world is torn asunder, Parton glimmers like a beacon of hope. Why do people like her so much? Let’s look back on just some of her gracious deeds to get a better understanding.
Funding The COVID Vaccine
When COVID-19 shut down the planet, Parton felt like she should do something. She later told Absolute Radio, “I just felt kind of led to do something because I knew something bad was on the rise, and I just wanted to kind of help with that, so I donated to help with that.” She donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University, which aided in the development of Moderna’s COVID vaccine.
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Not only that, but Parton has made a point of promoting vaccination. Parton made vaccine shirts a hot-button item and adapted the lyrics of “Jolene” to promote her vaccine. Over 1 million Americans lost their lives to COVID-19, and Parton is personally responsible for lowering that number from what it could have been.
A Literal Life Saver
While she indirectly saved lives through philanthropy, Parton is also a lifesaver in the literal sense. In 2020, she was filming Christmas on the Square for Netflix. Nine-year-old cast member Talia Hill made a sudden move toward an oncoming car, only to feel someone physically stop her. Hill told Inside Edition, “there [was] a vehicle moving, and I was walking, and then somebody grabbed me and pulled me back. And I looked up, and it was Dolly Parton.”
On the set of a film where Parton played an angel, she literally saved a child’s life. When Hill started thanking her, Parton responded, “Well, I’m an angel, you know.” This almost sounds made-up, yet it’s not. Parton is literally out here saving children.
Distributing Books To Children
Speaking of children, one of Parton’s primary philanthropic causes is the Imagination Library. The charity exists to boost early childhood literacy by getting books in the hands of children all over the world. Since 1995, the Imagination Library has donated over 184 million books to kids in need. Over 1 million books are gifted every month.
There aren’t many causes more noble than helping children learn and grow. Parton does it because she believes in the power of dreams. “When I was growing up in the hills of East Tennessee, I knew my dreams would come true. I know there are children in your community with their own dreams,” Parton writes on her website. “The seeds of these dreams are often found in books and the seeds you help plant in your community can grow across the world.” You can donate money to aid her mission through the Imagination Library website.
Addicted To Giving
It’s not only books that Parton donates. Especially in recent years, Parton has donated more and more. In addition to the COVID vaccine and the Imagination Library, she also raised $700,000 for flood victims in Tennessee. Parton has donated a total of $12.5 million around her home state to help protect people and the land.
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In an interview with People, Parton explained why she does so much: “I’m kind of addicted to the feeling of giving,” Parton says. “Knowing that I’m doing something good for someone else.” She doesn’t want to be worshiped as a god, but she does believe in the power her image can have. She says, “If I can set an example, then that’s great.” In a world where so many celebrities are focused on projects and profits, Parton is motivated by giving.
Support Of LGBTQ+ Rights
For generations now, Parton has been an ally to the LGBTQ+ community. On her 1991 song “Family,” Parton sings “Some are preachers / some are gay / some are addicts, drunks and strays / But not a one is turned away when it’s family.” This was simply not a common sentiment back then, so Parton was ahead of her time.
On a lighter note, Parton famously lost a Dolly lookalike drag contest. She’s come out against bathroom bans and has supported marriage equality for a long time. She once joked, “Why can’t they be as miserable as us heterosexuals in their marriages?” She’s a beloved figure in the queer community for all this and more.
She Supports Black Lives Matter
In 2020, Parton caused a minor stir when she expressed her support for Black Lives Matter. She told Billboard, “I understand people having to make themselves known and felt and seen… And of course Black lives matter. Do we think our little white asses are the only ones that matter? No!” She’s even amended the names of her events to remove an offensive language, saying it was “innocent ignorance” and apologizing.
“As soon as you realize that [something] is a problem, you should fix it. Don’t be a dumbass. That’s where my heart is,” Parton said. This should be in the Constitution somewhere.
Dolly Parton Stays Humble
Through her numerous good deeds, Parton has rejected any attempts to deify her. Parton did not want to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, although she later relented. The “Coat of Many Colors” singer famously rejected the Presidential Medal of Freedom… twice. She also asked that Tennessee not build a statue of her.
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For all these reasons, not to mention her decades of good music, Parton has cemented herself as a beloved icon across multiple generations.