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Dollywood announces new initiative to honor Dolly Parton’s legacy of philanthropy

The Care More Initiative encourages Dollywood Parks and Resorts employees to serve at the nonprofit of their choice to thank and recognize Parton for her contributions.
The East Tennessee Icon is inspiring others to give.
The East Tennessee Icon is inspiring others to give.(Wade Payne | Wade Payne/Invision/AP)
Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 11:19 AM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - On Dolly Parton’s birthday, Dollywood announced the creation of a new initiative in honor of her lifelong legacy of giving and putting others first.

The Care More Initiative encourages Dollywood Parks and Resorts employees to serve at the nonprofit of their choice to thank and recognize Parton for her contributions. A news release stated that the day of service would become an annual tradition for Dollywood hosts.

Employees at Dollywood theme park, Dollywood’s Splash Country, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, and Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins who participate in the new initiative will receive a day off with pay to fulfill their nonprofit service.

“Dolly is a dreamer, and because of that, she is an amazing person to work with,” said Eugene Naughton, Dollywood President. “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.”

“This initiative is our way to give back to her; it is our way to thank her for continuing to inspire people to think outside of themselves and to look for how they can be of service to others. We know our hosts are inspired by her every single day, but we hope others outside of our Dollywood family take the time to find how they can help in their own communities.”

Dolly Parton has had her fair share of philanthropic efforts, including The Dollywood Foundation and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Since launching in 1995, the Imagination Library has provided more than 180 million books worldwide for children under five.

The library also continues to deliver 1.8 million books to children in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, The Republic of Ireland and Australia, park officials confirmed.

“Her vision for the program was to create a lifelong love of reading, inspiring them to dream and reach great heights,” Dollywood stated.

When the Gatlinburg Wildfires occurred in 2016, Parton knew she had to help, so she created the ‘My People Fund.’ The effort assisted families who lost their homes during the devastating wildfires. Over $12 million in assistance from Parton’s ‘My People Fund’ was given to more than 900 families in Sevier County.

Other efforts of the East Tennessee icon include a $1 million donation to Vanderbilt University Children’s Hospital in 2017 and a $1 million donation to help fund COVID-19 vaccine research at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The living legend also raised money to help create LeConte Medical Center in Sevier County.

Following her hundreds of contributions to the East Tennessee area, a historical marker was put up near the end of 2021 to help tell her story in Downtown Sevierville.

Help us wish East Tennessee's queen, Dolly Parton, a happy birthday! ❤🎉 More details: https://bit.ly/3Krw3o4

Posted by WVLT on Wednesday, January 19, 2022

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