Dolly Parton's touching tribute to her father at Imagination Library foundation and why he's so important to Dolly's charity

Fans have been moved by the heart-warming feature showcased in Dolly Parton’s charity headquarters

Dolly Parton's touching tribute to her dad at charity foundation has melted fans' hearts
(Image credit: Shannon Finney/Getty Images)

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library took to social media to showcase their new Foundation headquarters, featuring the Jolene singer herself posing in the building.

The photos show Dolly in various rooms at the Foundation headquarters, as the caption praises Dolly for creating a business which inspires them everyday with a “caring spirit, passion, work ethic and creative vision.”

Dressed all in white, Dolly stands proudly in front of a wall of books in one of the photos.

However, it’s another picture which has moved many fans. Dolly is sat at her desk – no doubt working 9 to 5 – with a prominent portrait of her late father taking pride of place directly behind her.

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Dolly famously set up her Imagination Library charity in honor of her father, who was never taught to read or write.  

Inspired by her father’s inability to read and write, Dolly started the Imagination Library in 1995 for the children within her home county. Each child on the programme would receive a free book, to encourage a love of reading from a young age.

As the initiative grew, Dolly’s foundation eventually grew to offer a free book per month to children across five countries – the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and Republic of Ireland.

To date, Dolly and the foundation have given away over 186 million books.

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She has previously said about the charity, “The Imagination Library came from a very serious place in my heart. My dad and a lot of my relatives that grew up hard too, big families, they couldn’t actually get a chance to go to school, because they had to work.”

“My daddy couldn’t read and write, but daddy was so smart, he could just do numbers in his head. But my daddy then after he was grown, he couldn’t read or write; he thought that it was just too hard to do.”

“When I decided what I was going to do for a great charity, then I thought well I’m gonna do this: to get books in the hands of children, because if you can learn to read, if you can read, you can self-educate yourself.”

Dolly made sure to start close to home, launching the foundation in East Tennessee, because that’s where she learnt to dream.

Quoted on the Imagination Library website, Dolly explains, “When I was growing up in the hills of East Tennessee, I knew my dreams would come true. I know there are children in your community with their own dreams. They dream of becoming a doctor or an inventor or a minister. Who knows, maybe there is a little girl whose dream is to be a writer and singer.”

“The seeds of these dreams are often found in books and the seeds you help plant in your community can grow across the world.”

Dolly Parton and her parents

(Image credit: John Seakwood/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)

As her many dreams have come true – selling over 100 million records worldwide, winning 11 Grammys and starring in movies like 9 to 5 and Steel Magnolias – Dolly’s commitment to delivering books and dreams to children around the world hasn’t waivered.

And keeping her father at the heart of everything is a touch that didn’t go unnoticed by fans.

One fan wrote, “A true angel on Earth. Her father would be so proud” while another added, “Love seeing her daddy behind her in the portrait.”

Jack Slater
Freelance writer

Jack Slater is not the Last Action Hero, but that's what comes up first when you Google him. Preferring a much more sedentary life, Jack gets his thrills by covering news, entertainment, celebrity, film and culture for woman&home, and other digital publications.


Having written for various print and online publications—ranging from national syndicates to niche magazines—Jack has written about nearly everything there is to write about, covering LGBTQ+ news, celebrity features, TV and film scoops, reviewing the latest theatre shows lighting up London’s West End and the most pressing of SEO based stories.