National Conference of State Legislatures 2019 Legislative Summit

Published August 8, 2019 / Last Updated August 9, 2019

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb

Dolly addresses over 4,000 US lawmakers and legislative leaders at the annual conference

Dolly Parton appeared as a keynote speaker at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) 2019 Legislative Summit, held August 5-8 in Nashville, TN. The annual bipartisan conference aims to provide states “support, ideas, connections and a strong voice on Capitol Hill,” and Dolly took the stage to talk about literacy and her Imagination Library program.

During a Q&A segment with Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Dolly shared how her father’s inability to read or write inspired her to launch the Imagination Library, which mails one free book each month to children from birth to age five in participating communities. What started in 1995 as a program in her hometown of Sevier County, TN, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library now spans five countries and mails over 1.4 million free books each month to children around the world.

The Imagination Library relies on local partners to secure funding for the program, and in 2004, the state of Tennessee became the first to pass legislation supporting a statewide rollout of the program. During their on-stage discussion, Gov. Lee emphasized the scientifically-proven benefits of reading to your child, while Dolly encouraged all of the legislative leaders in attendance to adopt the Imagination Library as a statewide program so that “all children in our country will have access to books.”

 “We’d like all the states to go statewide with it,” she said. “It’s not just for poor kids, but for all kids, for every child who signs up.”

Representing the Tennessee General Assembly, Lt. Gov. Randy McNally and House Speaker-select Cameron Sexton appeared on stage to present Dolly with a $25,000 check for her Dollywood Foundation, which funds the Imagination Library.

Dolly concluded her appearance with a touching performance of “Coat of Many Colors” and brought the entire audience to their feet with an inspiring rendition of “Try,” a song she wrote to celebrate her Imagination Library. Dolly left all of the conference attendees with a message of inspiration, encouraging them all to follow their dreams, to respect and love all of God’s children and to take any opportunity to work together.

Pictured Above: Dolly Parton, Toi Hutchinson (Illinois, Legislator)

Photo Credit: Kayla Schoen

Michelle Vos, Dolly Parton, Robin Vos (Wisconsin, Legislator)
Dolly Parton, Scott Saiki (Hawaii, Legislator)
Dolly Parton, Curtis Bramble (Utah, Legislator)
Tomee Heining, Dolly Parton, Jon Heining (Texas, Legislative Staff)
Dolly Parton, Martha Wigton (Georgia, Legislative Staff)
Dolly Parton, Chuck Truesdell (Kentucky, Legislative Staff)
Dolly Parton, Jim Hendren (Arkansas, Legislator)
Dolly Parton, Matthew J. Shepherd (Arkansas, Legislator)
Matthew Moonen (Maine, Legislator), Dolly Parton, Jeremy Kennedy
Dolly Parton, Matt Huffman (Ohio, Legislator)
Dolly Parton, Ronald Kouchi (Hawaii, Legislator)
Dolly Parton, Nicole Jefferson (Amazon)
Dolly Parton, Mike Bell (Tennessee, Legislator)
Dolly Parton, Bill Powers (Tennessee, Legislator)
Dolly Parton, Ken Yager (Tennessee, Legislator)
Dolly Parton, Art Swann (Tennessee, Legislator)
 
Dolly Parton, Jeff Yarbro (Tennessee, Legislator)
Dolly Parton, Dolores Gresham (Tennessee, Legislator)
Dolly Parton, William Lamberth (Tennessee, Legislator)
 
Bo Watson (Tennessee, Legislator), Dolly Parton
 
Dolly Parton, Patsy Hazlewood (Tennessee, Legislator)
Dolly Parton, Mary Littleton (Tennessee, Legislator)
Dolly Parton, Mike Carter (Tennessee, Legislator)
Dolly Parton, Jack Johnson (Tennessee, Legislator)
 
Dolly Parton, Lowell Russel (Tennessee, Legislator)
 
Dolly Parton, Scott W. Gilmer (Tennessee, Legislative Staff)
Cameron Sexton (Tennessee, Legislator), Dolly Parton
 
 
 
 
 
 
David Dotson (CEO, Dollywood Foundation), Dolly Parton, Nora Briggs (Executive Director, North America, Dollywood Foundation), Jeff Conyers (President, Dollywood Foundation)

 

Team DollyNational Conference of State Legislatures 2019 Legislative Summit

The FBI Honors The Dollywood Foundation

Published May 6, 2019 / Last Updated May 6, 2019

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman

The Dollywood Foundation received the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award.

On May 3, 2019, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) held an annual event at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. During this event, FBI Director Christopher Wray presented 57 individuals and organizations with the Director’s Community Leadership Award.

The Director’s Community Leadership Awards honor individuals and organizations for their efforts in combating crime, terrorism, drugs and violence in America. Dolly Parton and the Dollywood Foundation received this honor from the Knoxville Division for the generous support and goodwill provided to the people who were affected by the 2016 wildfires. David Dotson, Chief Executive Officer of the Dollywood Foundation accepted the award on behalf of the Foundation. Dolly Parton responded to the honor with a special message.

Director’s Community Leadership Award

The awards were formally created in 1990 to honor the work of community leaders supporting the FBI’s mission. Honorees are nominated by leaders of the FBI’s 56 field offices and the Bureau’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division.

2018 Director’s Community Leadership Award Winners

 

FBI Director Christopher Wray presented 57 individuals and organizations with the Director’s Community Leadership Award.

 

Team DollyThe FBI Honors The Dollywood Foundation

Fire Departments Receive $200,000 From Dolly Parton’s My People Fund

Published March 18, 2019 / Last Updated March 18, 2019

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman

Dolly Parton’s My People Fund donates $200,000 to eight volunteer fire departments and their training center. Tennessee House of Representatives honor Dolly Parton.

On Saturday, March 16, Dolly Parton met with all of the Fire Chiefs in Sevier County at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa. In recognition of their instrumental role in fighting the 2016 wildfires, The Dollywood Foundation’s My People Fund donated $20,000 to each volunteer fire station and gave $40,000 to their area training center. In total, Dolly presented them with $200,000 for their brave service to the community.

“It is only fitting that the last of the My People Fund will go to those who were the first to respond to the fires,” said Dolly Parton.

Tim Baker is the Chief of Waldens Creek Volunteer Fire Department and current President of the Sevier County Fire Chiefs Association. He said, “We are so thankful for this donation to all of the fire departments and for our training center. The Waldens Creek VFD will use part of the money to purchase gear and part of the money to replace the roof on the station.”

According to Chief Baker, the training center donation will help build a new classroom. The training center is located on Center View Road, on property donated by the county. It’s used by all fire departments in the county as well as local law enforcement. Chief Baker said,

“This is fantastic. We needed about $40,000 to meet our goal for the classroom and now we have it!”

Tennessee House of Representatives


In conjunction with this donation, the Tennessee House of Representatives presented Dolly Parton with a resolution to recognize and honor her as one of Tennessee’s most beloved and accomplished daughters.

Pictured from Left to Right: Mark White, Dale Carr, Dolly Parton, Ron Travis, Andrew Farmer and Robin Smith

About My People Fund

The Dollywood Foundation established the My People Fund just 48 hours after the 2016 wildfires. In the weeks and months following, the Fund provided $1000 each month for six months to Sevier County families whose homes were uninhabitable or were completely destroyed in the Smoky Mountain wildfires. Any family who lost their primary residence (renters and homeowners) due to the wildfires in Sevier County were eligible. Due to the tremendous outpouring of donations and support, the final distribution checks were $5000 (per family).

Photo Credits: Curtis Hilbun

Pictured Above from Left to Right: Pete Kilman, Marvin Rolen, Tim Baker, John Satterfield, Heidi Satterfield, Dolly Parton, Joe Fields, Stephen Walley, Chris Young, Tony Patty, John Linsenbigler

Team DollyFire Departments Receive $200,000 From Dolly Parton’s My People Fund

Dolly’s My People Fund Finishes “Smokies Strong”

Published May 5, 2017 / Last Updated May 5, 2017

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman

Dolly Parton’s My People Fund presents final checks to families and makes a long-term investment in future recovery efforts!

Smokies Strong, a title the people of Sevier County, TN, have more than earned in the aftermath of the devastating wildfires. They displayed their strength and courage on the very night the fires started and have continued to do so in the following months.

The Dollywood Foundation established the My People Fund just 48 hours after wildfires swept through the county on November 28, 2016. Each month, starting in December 2016, the My People Fund gave $1,000 to every family whose home was lost or destroyed in the fires. May marks the end of the Fund’s six-month pledge to assist the recovery efforts. Due to the tremendous outpouring of donations and support, the My People Fund was able to increase the amount of the final distribution checks from $1,000 to $5,000 (per family). In total, $8.9 million went directly to wildfire victims.

Dolly was on hand at the CARE MORE Assistance Center on May 4 in Pigeon Forge, TN, to present the last checks to three families and to say thank you to the dozens of volunteers who have staffed the effort. Dolly said,

“We started the distribution in December right around the longest night of the year and I know it felt dark and lonely for so many. But here we are in spring, a time for renewal and a time for hope. I know the money helps but most of all I want people to know we will always provide you a shoulder to lean on.”

In addition, Dolly’s My People Fund launched a partnership with the Mountain Tough Recovery Team to continue supporting these families in the coming months by providing $3 million for this effort. Dolly made this announcement during a special media event at Smoky Mountain Adventures in Pigeon Forge, TN, on May 5.

Wildfire Scholarship Fund

Additional contributions, outside of the My People Fund, helped establish and support the Wildfire Scholarship Fund. Thanks to these efforts, every high school junior and senior in Sevier County, whose homes were destroyed by the fires, will receive a $4,500 scholarship.

Today, recovery continues and rebuilding efforts are underway for the people who are and forever will be, Smokies Strong.

About My People Fund

The Dollywood Foundation’s My People Fund provided $1,000 each month for six months to Sevier County families whose homes were uninhabitable or were completely destroyed in the Smoky Mountain wildfires. Any family who lost their primary residence (renters and homeowners) due to the wildfires in Sevier County were eligible.

About The Mountain Tough Recovery Team

The mission of the Mountain Tough Recovery Team is to assist individuals and families recovering from the 2016 wildfires in Gatlinburg and the surrounding Sevier County area to rebuild and provide resources for other unmet needs for both homeowners and renters impacted by the fires.

Devastating wildfires claimed the lives of 14 people and destroyed thousands of homes and buildings in Sevier County, TN, on November 28, 2016.

Team DollyDolly’s My People Fund Finishes “Smokies Strong”

My People Fund Serves Nearly 900 Families

Published December 22, 2016 / Last Updated January 5, 2017

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman

The Dollywood Foundation’s My People Fund served nearly 900 families in the first distribution as donation totals climb to $9.3 million including $250,000 from Food City.

In a little more than two weeks after the wildfires that spread across Dolly Parton’s home area of Sevier County, TN, Dolly and the Dollywood Foundation launched the distribution of assistance from the My People Fund. During the four-day check distribution, 884 families received their initial support payments. Dolly said,

“It’s a blessing during this holiday season that we are able to help as many families as we have so far. We know there are more families out there who need our help and we encourage them to be in contact with us before our January distribution.”

The next distribution is set for January 26 and 27, 2017, at the LeConte Events Center in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

  • Thursday, Jan. 26: Last name A – L
  • Friday, Jan. 27: Last name M – Z

Food City Donation

Thanks to the generosity of Food City, their customers, associates and more, the company presented checks to the Dollywood Foundation’s My People Fund and the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Gatlinburg Relief Fund totaling $750,000. Steven C. Smith, Food City President/CEO said,

“Our company has been privileged to operate in the Sevier County/Gatlinburg area for more than thirty years and we certainly want to do everything possible to help our friends and neighbors recover from this devastating disaster.”

Food City designated $500,000 to benefit the Gatlinburg Relief Fund, while the remaining $250,000 was directed to the My People Fund.

About My People Fund

The Dollywood Foundation’s My People Fund provides $1000 each month to Sevier County families whose homes are uninhabitable or were completely destroyed in the recent Smoky Mountain wildfires. Any family who lost their primary residence (renters and homeowners) due to the wildfires in Sevier County are eligible. A pre-application for those affected is available at DollywoodFoundation.org.

Millions of people watched Smoky Mountains Rise: A Benefit for the My People Fund telethon on Tuesday, December 13 on GAC, AXS-TV, RFD and The Heartland Network and during several rebroadcasts throughout the last weekend. As a result, donations continued to roll in and thanks to generous people from coast to coast and Dolly’s friends, the total amount raised has climbed to $9.3 million. David Dotson, Dollywood Foundation President commented saying,

“As, Dolly said, the response has been overwhelming. We will distribute all $9.3 million to the families affected. That will insure all of the money raised will go to where Dolly promised it would.”

Team DollyMy People Fund Serves Nearly 900 Families