To celebrate Dolly Parton’s birthday, Dollywood officials today announced the creation of the Care More Initiative in honor of her lifelong legacy of philanthropy and finding ways to put others first.
- As part of the Care More program, Dollywood Parks & Resorts employees—or hosts—are encouraged to serve at the nonprofit of their choice to thank and recognize Parton for the many ways she contributes to others each day.
- The day of service, which may take place at any nonprofit, will become an annual tradition for Dollywood hosts. Park officials hope people around the world are inspired by Parton’s many gestures of service and will themselves choose a nonprofit they can serve as well.
- Hosts at Dollywood theme park, Dollywood’s Splash Country, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, and Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins who take part in the Care More Initiative will receive a day off with pay in order to fulfill their nonprofit service.
What They’re Saying:
- Eugene Naughton, Dollywood President:
- “Dolly is a dreamer and because of that she is an amazing person to work with,”
- “It’s virtually impossible to describe her in one word, but I think if you asked people around the world, one of the most frequent answers you would hear is ‘giving.’ You would hear hundreds of different answers—talented, inspiring, loving, creative, caring—but I think giving is the one of which I think she would be most proud.”
Dolly Parton’s Philanthropic Efforts:
- The Dollywood Foundation and its Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, are certainly the most well-known of her philanthropic efforts. Since launching in 1995, the Imagination Library has provided more than 180 million books around the world to registered children from birth to age five. Each month the Imagination Library delivers 1.8 million age-appropriate books to children in communities throughout the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, The Republic of Ireland and Australia. Her vision for the program was to create a lifelong love of reading, inspiring them to dream and reach great heights.
- In 2016, The Dollywood Foundation led Parton’s efforts to assist families who lost their homes during the devastating wildfires which swept through her home county. The monies raised from Parton’s Smoky Mountains Rise telethon helped The Foundation’s My People Fund distribute more than $12 million in direct assistance to more than 900 families in Sevier County, Tennessee.
- Parton helped raise money to create LeConte Medical Center in Sevier County, a $1 million donation to Vanderbilt University Children’s Hospital in 2017, as well as a $1 million donation to help fund COVID-19 vaccine research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, Parton read bedtime stories from the Imagination Library to children through a 10-week virtual series. Most recently, she, along with her Smoky Mountain businesses, raised $700,000 in support of the catastrophic flooding that took place in Humphreys County, Tennessee in late August.