Dolly Parton is being hailed as a hero for donating funding toward a vaccine for the coronavirus. While COVID-19 is changing lives worldwide, Parton is using her money for good.
Parton will appear at The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting 2020 tonight. The festivities will take place at 8 p.m. Eastern time December 2, 2020 until 10 p.m. on NBC. A special hour of performances will begin at 7 p.m. Eastern time. She will also perform as a duo with Jimmy Fallon.
Here’s what you need to know:
Parton Donated $1 Million to Vanderbilt University in April, Which Was Used to Fund Research for Moderna’s COVID-19 Vaccine
Parton made a $1 million contribution to Vanderbilt University in April, which went toward research for a vaccine for the coronavirus, according to The Guardian. Moderna’s vaccine, which was funded in part by her donation, is one of several COVID-19 vaccines which will be made available in the coming months. It is 94.5% effective, according to current studies.
Parton grew up in poverty, and has used her wealth to fund giving ventures in Tennessee, throughout the United States and abroad. Her Imagination Library gives free books to children across the globe. Her charity, My People, gave $1,000 a month to Tennessee families who lost their homes to wildfires in 2016. Today, the charity funds rebuilding efforts and gives grants and donations to firefighters, The Guardian reported.
“Dolly is someone who understands that money is something you do rather than something you have, an insight our politicians and leaders somehow keep missing,” Columnist Jessa Crispin wrote for The Guardian. “People use money to create division, to hurt and destroy. They amass it and sit on it and want to be applauded for it. Dolly uses it to construct the kind of world I bet she wishes she had been born into.”
Parton Learned Her Donation Went Toward the Coronavirus Vaccine When Her Name Appeared on a Sponsor List
Parton didn’t know exactly what her $1 million donation would be used for when she contributed to Vanderbilt University’s fund. Back in April when she made the donation, there were only 200,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States. She learned the donation was used for medical research for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine when her name appeared on a list of sponsors, according to CNN.
“When I donated the money to the Covid fund I just wanted it to do good and evidently, it is!” she wrote on Twitter. “Let’s just hope we can find a cure real soon.”
Her name appears on the New England Journal of Medicine’s “An mRNA Vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 — Preliminary Report.”
“Supported by the NIAID, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, under award numbers UM1AI148373 (Kaiser Washington), UM1AI148576 (Emory University), UM1AI148684 (Emory University), UM1Al148684-01S1 (Vanderbilt University Medical Center), and HHSN272201500002C (Emmes); by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, NIH, under award number UL1 TR002243 (Vanderbilt University Medical Center); and by the Dolly Parton COVID-19 Research Fund (Vanderbilt University Medical Center),” the preliminary report says. “Funding for the manufacture of mRNA-1273 phase 1 material was provided by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI).”
She was asked about the funding in several media appearances in the hours and days after the report was released.
“I just felt so proud to have been part of that little seed money that will hopefully grow into something great and help to heal this world,” she said on BBC’s “The One Show.” “I’m a very proud girl today to know I had anything at all to do with something that’s going to help us through this crazy pandemic.”