Dolly Parton Earns ‘CMA Humanitarian Award’ for COVID Vaccine Donation

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

The Country Music Association presented industry honors to six highly-deserving individuals during the organization’s Board of Directors meetings. One of which was to country superstar Dolly Parton.

According to a press release, Dolly Parton, as well as Health Alliance’s founder/CEO Tatum Allsep; and COO/Certified Senior Advisor Sheila Shipley Biddy were honored with the CMA Foundation Humanitarian Award. All three have notably been at the forefront of the COVID-19 relief and innovation for nearly two years. Parton also gave a significant donation for the COVID Moderna vaccine. 

The Country Music Association also states Dolly Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center to help aid in COVID-19 vaccine research. The country singer revealed on Instagram that she made the donation after her friend, Dr. Naji Abumrad, of the Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology, and Inflammation, shared with her the “exciting advancements” he and his crew were making to create a vaccine. 

The organization also revealed, “Known as the Dolly Parton COVID-19 Research Fund, Parton’s contribution helped fund initial vaccine research led by Dr. Mark Denison, a professor of pathology, microbiology, and immunology at Vanderbilt.”

Meanwhile, the Country Music Association reported that while the federal government eventually invested $1 billion in the creation and testing of the vaccine, Dr. Denison explained that it was Dolly Parton’s donation that funded the crucial early stages of the Moderna vaccine’s development. The country legend was thanked for her donation by name in a Moderna preliminary report. This report also made its debut in November 2020.  

Speaking about her award, Dolly Parton added, “I was honored to receive the CMA’s Humanitarian Award. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there to receive it in person, but I’m always there in spirit.” 

Dolly Parton Opens Up About Her COVID-19 Vaccine Research Donation

During an April 2021 interview with TODAY, Dolly Parton spoke about her incredibly generous donation for the COVID-19 vaccine research. “When the pandemic came out, I just felt kind of led to do something. Because I know something bad was on the ride. And I just wanted to kind of help with that. So I donated to help with that.”

Dolly Parton further explained that her donation was a small part. “I probably get a lot more credit than I deserve. But I was happy to be part of that. And to be able to try to stop something in its tracks that’s really become such a monster for all of us.”

The country legend also said that her heart lead her to where she was supposed to go and what she was supposed to do at the time. “I’m just happy that anything I do can help somebody else. And when I donated the money to the COVID fund, I just wanted it to do good. Evidently, it is. Let’s just hope we find a cure real soon.”