Last week, Dolly Parton added another accolade to her long list of accomplishments. The 76-year-old entertainment icon was honored with the 2022 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy.
The Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy is awarded to extraordinary individuals who have dedicated their private wealth to the public good. In order to be considered for the award, an individual’s philanthropy must have a “significant dimension … sustained over time” and have “had a significant impact internationally or on a particular field, nation, or group of people.”
Parton’s philanthropy certainly seems to fulfill those categories.
Not only did the Tennessee native begin her Imagination Library —which has sent roughly 200 million free books to kids around the world — in 1995, but she also sprung into action in a major way during the COVID-19 pandemic. With her Dollywood Foundation, Parton donated $1 million to vaccine research, helping in part to create Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine and saving countless lives as a result.
“I grew up in a very open-hearted, faith-based family,” Parton said in a recent interview with Vogue. “You’re taught to love and be accepting, and to give more than you receive. Whether you believe in God or not, you need to be grounded; you need to believe in something greater than yourself. We grew up thinking that other people are just as important as we are. I wrote a song that’s going to be in my Christmas movie special in December. And it goes, ‘Whoever you are, be that. Whatever you do, do that. Anything else is just an act.’”
You’ll be able to hear the new song during “Dolly Parton’s Mountain Magic Christmas,” which will air on NBC during the upcoming holiday season.
It’s not often that celebrities are given the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy, as it often goes to business magnates who aren’t as well known in the public, but Parton joins notable names like George Lucas and Ted Turner as famous faces in that club.
If a child you know could benefit from the free books that Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library issues every month, go to the charity’s website to check availability in your area and sign up. Right now, the Imagination Library is serving communities in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Ireland and the United Kingdom.