Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Saturday 16 October |
Saint of the Day: St. Gerard Majella
Aleteia logo

Hello, Dolly: meet a great philanthropist—and prepare to be amazed

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 12/21/16

Who knew?  This is truly inspiring. Her phenomenal generosity toward people in need extends far beyond the money she’s given to support those recovering from the devastating fires in her home state.

Such as:

Underneath the aw-shucks, who-me persona is a serious woman, now 70, and one of the most philanthropic celebrities around. In 2006, the Associated Press pointed out that while “much of her philanthropy has been anonymous” (or at least done quietly), it includes such gifts as the $60,000 she provided per year for disadvantaged Sevier County high school students, something she has done in varying amounts since the 1970s. And the program she created that offered $500 to children in the county who both graduated high school and convinced a classmate not to drop out. Not to mention the $100,000 she donated in 1997 to open the Dolly Parton Birthing Unit at the LeConte Medical Center in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., so expectant mothers wouldn’t have to drive all the way to Knoxville when their time came. Even at the time, she seemed to play off this last donation in her joking, flirty way. “Lordy, Lordy, I don’t know nothing about birthing babies!” she said, according to the Deseret News. “Just think of all the babies who’ll be born in Sevier County at the Dolly Parton unit. It’s a great compliment.” Easily her most wide-reaching philanthropic work is Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, one of the country’s largest literacy projects, which she funded partially with proceeds from Dollywood, according to Forbes. To her, it was important that children be afforded the opportunity to read, regardless of their parents’ income level. The Imagination Library began in 1995 with a simple goal: Mail one book, each month, to every child in Sevier County from birth to age 5 so “she could ensure that every child would have books, regardless of their family’s income.” The program was so successful that in 2000, she offered to expand it to any community that would partner with her to support such a program. It exploded. The program is now global, found in some 1,600 communities across the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. It now sends more than 1 million books to children across the world, every month.

Read it all. God love her.

Photo: Wikipedia

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Larry Peterson
This is the only officially recognized Marian apparition in the U...
Philip Kosloski
A scientist describes the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima
Cerith Gardiner
Nightbirde finds inspiration in Joan of Arc
Agnès Pinard Legry
Three brothers ordained priests on the same day in the Philippine...
Cerith Gardiner
Archbishop gives little girl a beautiful response about why God a...
Philip Kosloski
Vatican II’s primary goal, according to St. John XXIII
Dolors Massot
Two sisters become nuns at the same time in Spain
See More