On August 11th, Dolly Parton was the recipient of the Dolly Parton Excellence in Leadership Award for her selfless work to improve lives across Tennessee.
The presentation took place at the Country Music Hall of Fame.
“My dream was to make as many people happy as I could in this life, and I am grateful to Leadership Tennessee and First Lady Crissy Haslam for recognizing our work done to improve the lives of all Tennesseans,” Parton said. “Even more humbling is for decades to come the future leaders of Tennessee will receive an award with the Parton family name attached to it, and for that I am truly honored and thankful.”
Parton’s contributions to the Volunteer State are transformational and selfless to generations of Tennesseans. After the devastating Gatlinburg wildfires in 2016, Parton’s Emmy-winning “Smoky Mountains Rise” telethon raised more than $12.5 million for her My People Fund to provide financial assistance to victims of those fires.
In addition to the joy and comfort her music has brought to millions of fans, Parton’s Imagination Library mails free, high-quality books to children from birth until they begin school regardless of family income, and since its launch in 1995, more than 100 million books have been mailed to children in five different countries on three different continents.
“Tennessee has many talented sons and daughters but there are few who are as beloved as Dolly Parton,” First Lady Crissy Haslam, chair of the Fifth Anniversary Committee said. “And while she may be most known for her music, she has undoubtedly proved to be an exemplar of leadership through her generosity, humility, inclusiveness, expertise and passion. As a state, we are indebted to all that Dolly has done for Tennessee and its people; there is no one better suited for the very first Excellence in Leadership Award.”