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Dave J Hogan/Getty Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton is the gift that keeps on giving!
On Wednesday, the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville announced that the country music artist once again donated $1 million, this time for pediatric infectious disease research.
"No child should ever have to suffer," Parton, 76, said in a press release of her reason for donating. "I'm willing to do my part to try and keep as many of them as I can as healthy and safe as possible."
The funding will help advance Vanderbilt's leading studies on the causes of disease, understanding resistance to antibiotics and preventing and treating infections in children with cancer. Parton's niece, Hannah Dennison, was successfully treated for leukemia as a child at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt Pediatric Cancer Program.
"Dolly's previous support to infectious disease research, and also our pediatric cancer program, has already saved countless lives," said Dr. Jeff Balser, president and CEO of Vanderbilt University Medical Center and dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Wednesday's press release. "This new gift will bolster our defenses against future threats to the safety of this region and society as a whole."
Graham Denholm/Getty Dolly Parton
"My longtime friend Dr. Naji Abumrad, who's been involved in research at Vanderbilt for many years, informed me that they were making some exciting advancements towards research of the coronavirus for a cure," the singer shared on Instagram at the time.
"I am making a donation of $1 million to Vanderbilt towards that research," she continued, as she urged others out there who could "afford it" to make donations as well.
The "Jolene" singer signed off the post reminding her followers to "keep the faith" during the turbulent time.
Courtesy Dolly Parton Dolly Parton and Naji Abumrad, MD
Parton's philanthropic efforts extend beyond her commitment to medical research. In April, she sat down with National Geographic for an in-depth story about her native Tennessee's Smoky Mountains, touching on the region's colorful vegetation, wildlife, and the crucial nature of protecting it from the effects of climate change.
"We should pay more attention," Parton said. "We're just mistreating Mother Nature — that's like being ugly to your mama… We need to take better care of the things that God gave us freely. And that we're so freely messing up."
In October 2021, after devastating rain-ravaged middle Tennessee, her Dollywood Foundation raised $700,000 for flood victims.
Meanwhile, perhaps the most personal for Parton — and inspired by her father's illiteracy — her Imagination Library project, established in 1995, has now donated almost 170 million books to children under five.
RELATED VIDEO: Dolly Parton on How Her Dad Inspired Her to Launch Imagination Library
"I'm kind of addicted to the feeling of giving," Parton told PEOPLE in December for a People of the Year cover story. "Knowing that I'm doing something good for someone else."
But what she's less comfortable with is being recognized for it. "I have to honestly tell you, I was a little bit skeptical of being put on the cover as one of the People of the Year," she said. "Because that's a lot of pressure. But, yeah, it's like, I am not all that. I'm glad that I stand for enough stuff to where I'm not the worst person in the world."