NEW YORK — Dolly Parton laughs at the idea that she is some sort of secret philanthropist.
“I don’t do it for attention,” she told The Associated Press in an interview shortly before she received the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy at Gotham Hall in New York City Thursday night. “But look! I’m getting a lot of attention by doing it.”
In fact, Parton believes she gets too much attention for her philanthropic work – which ranges from promoting childhood literacy to supporting those affected by natural disasters and providing numerous college scholarships through her Dollywood Foundation.
Earlier this week, social media sleuths were able to piece together that for years, Parton has quietly paid for the band uniforms of many Tennessee high schools.
Last July, the country music legend revealed to Andy Cohen on an episode of "What What Happens Live" that she used the royalties from Whitney Houston's version of her song "I Will Always Love You" to help a Black community in Nashville, Tennessee.
In April 2020, Parton announced that she donated $1 million to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center for research that helped Moderna's vaccine development.
“I just give from my heart,” she told the Associated Press. “I never know what I’m going to do or why I’m gonna do it. I just see a need and if I can fill it, then I will.”
Through her Imagination Library, which was inspired by her late father's inability to read and write, a child under the age of 5 receives a free book each month.
According to the program's website, as of February, more than 1.9 million books have been gifted.