Dolly Parton is the singer on everyone’s lips recently, but not only because she recently released a new album.
The 74-year-old country music icon, whose net worth is said to be $500 million, donated a huge amount of money to coronavirus vaccine research, which supported the development of the Moderna vaccine.
Early studies of the vaccine show 95% protection against the virus, and Moderna has said it could produce 1 billion doses of the drug by the end of 2021.
So, how much did Dolly Parton donate to fund the vaccine research, and why did she part with such a large sum?
How much did Dolly Parton donate to fund the Moderna vaccine?
The Jolene singer donated no less than one million US dollars to help to fund the production of the Moderna vaccine.
When Moderna, an American company, announced its vaccine may be 94.5% effective in protecting against Covid-19, Parton was named in the report as a donor.
The report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, refers to support from different groups including the “Dolly Parton COVID-19 Research Fund (Vanderbilt University Medical Center)”.
That’s because, back in April, Parton announced she had donated the huge sum of money to Vanderbilt University Medical Centre, based in Nashville, Tennessee, to support coronavirus vaccine research.
The star’s donation has also supported a convalescent plasma study at Vanderbilt, which involves treating infected people with the plasma of others who already have virus antibodies.
Why did Dolly Parton make the donation?
Parton revealed why she made the generous donation in April, referring to her “longtime friend” Dr Naji Abumrad who works at the Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology and Inflammation at the university.
He had told her that the institute was making “some exciting advancements” in the search for a Covid-19 cure.
Parton then decided to donate towards the work in the hope that other people would follow suit.
She told BBC’s The One Show: “I’m sure many, many millions of dollars from many people went into that [research fund] but I felt so proud to have been part of that little seed money that hopefully will grow into something great and help to heal this world – Lord knows we need it!”
Has Dolly Parton donated money to charity in the past?
Parton has a long history of philanthropy.
Namely, her Imagination Library, which has been set up in the UK, gifts free books to children up to five years old to inspire them to read.
The charity delivers more than 40,000 books a month, free of charge, to children living in different communities across the country.
And in her home state of Tennessee, Parton has worked for years to improve literacy in children.
In 2017, she donated $1 million to the Monroe Carell Jr. Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.
She has also supported the Save the Music Foundation, advocated for animal rights and participated in the Make-a-Wish programme.
Her efforts were rewarded in 2019 as Parton became the first ever country artist to be named MusiCares Person of the Year, an award recognising her charity work.