Here’s a quietly wonderful thing I noticed:
If you talk to someone who was in choir or band at a majority Black HS, you’ll eventually discuss those annoying fundraisers for uniforms, instruments, etc. & a SURPRISING number will casually say:
“Oh, Dolly Parton paid for ours”
— Michael Harriot (@michaelharriot) October 6, 2022
Parton is renowned for performing charitable acts without expecting any praise from the media or publicity.
Dolly Parton has a reputation for going above and beyond to assist others. She has aided several individuals, which is well known, but a lot of it is hidden. According to author and journalist Michael Harriot, Dolly Parton has long sponsored the uniforms at various Black high schools. If you talk to someone who was in choir or band at a mostly Black HS, you’ll eventually mention those tedious fundraisers for uniforms, instruments, etc. & an SURPRISING amount will casually say: “Oh, Dolly Parton paid for ours,” the author of “Black AF History” tweeted.
On Harriot’s tweet, a student from one of those institutions said, “I played in the East Tennessee high school marching band more than 30 years ago. When we first performed at Sevier County High School, wow, that band was well-prepared. They had uniforms, instruments, flags, you name it. Mountains, a lot of poverty. Dolly Parton covered the cost. A national treasure, that lady.”
Another student from that same period wrote about their own experience, saying, “Pigeon Forge was developing at the same time. Middle school is overcrowded, and several students share lockers. The BOE was contacted, and she was instructed to pay the fee and replace the lockers so that each of us had our own. She’s incredible.”
Fans of Dolly Parton are not surprised by the revelation because they are aware of her reputation for undertaking charitable work without regard for publicity. She has consistently campaigned to raise money for schools, particularly those in Sevier County, where she was raised. According to the Chicago Tribune, she established the Buddy Contract program in 1988 and promised to graduate each partnered student in the seventh and eighth grade with a $1,000 gift. The only requirements of her program were that students stay in school and assist one another with problems that would cause them to quit. These pupils were also instructed to write Parton directly with any problems they couldn’t resolve.
She also established the Imagination Library, a nonprofit organization “committed to encouraging a love of reading by presenting books gratis to children from birth to age five.” In her native county, the library has been open for approximately 27 years. This year, The Guardian reports, the organization collaborated with Penguin Random House to provide 200 refugee kids in London free books.
According to The Guardian, the singer is covering the whole cost of all of her Dollywood employees’ college tuition. Additionally, she is covering all of their additional costs and sourcebooks. Nearly all of the 11,000 full-time, part-time, and seasonal workers of her firm who operate at 25 amusement and theme parks are covered by this offer.
The artist provided additional $12.5 million in relief to families impacted by the horrific fires in the Tennessee town of Gatlinburg in 2018. For almost six months, she offered 900 fire-affected households $1,000 per month. Her organization boosted the payment to $5000 for each family over the last month after the number of requests for donations rose, according to BPR News.
Parton has also made contributions to the medical industry. Parton gave $1 million to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center as the globe struggled with the coronavirus outbreak and the Covid vaccine was hurried through clinical testing. According to the New York Times, they were collaborating with Moderna to create the first Covid-19 vaccine that was approved in the United States. Even though the federal government committed $1 billion in the clinical studies later, according to Dr. Mark Denison, Parton’s gift paid for their first phases.
She also fervently backs the Black Lives Matter movement. In a 2020 interview with Billboard, she stated, “Black lives count, of sure. Do we really believe that we are the only ones who matter? No.” Dolly Parton has always giving back to her community whenever she has the chance. One Twitter user aptly summed it up: “Dolly could be the closest human being to a saint there is. She works discreetly because she doesn’t want the world to know about her excellent deeds.”