Dollywood Foundation encourages TN drivers to consider speciality plates that support children across the state

Published 10:41 am Tuesday, October 18, 2022

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In January 2022, Tennessee announced the requirement for all drivers to get a new license plate. Since a new plate is required, it’s a great time to consider a specialty plate that will help our local Tennessee children.
It seems the norm to receive daily emails, calls and even texts vying for our support of various causes. Amid all the requests, the opportunity to give back by purchasing a specialty license plate may not be top of mind. The over 100 specialty license plates in Tennessee are a relatively inexpensive way to support a cause you care about and advertise for them every time you hit the road.
A comprehensive list of the over 100 specialty plates is at the following link: Each plate can be purchased for the minimal cost of $36 per plate plus $1 processing fee added by the county clerk’s office. You can trade in your current plate for a specialty plate at any time and your fees will be prorated by your clerk’s office.
While acknowledging the value of all specialty plate options and the organizations they represent, I want to highlight four that focus on supporting Tennessee children: Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, Helping Schools, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
One tangible way to invest in our children locally and statewide, is to purchase an Imagination Library license plate
Dolly is even encouraging Tennessee drivers to consider the plates saying, “I’m so happy that my Tennessee license plate helps enroll children in the Imagination Library! So, renew your plates and join
By purchasing Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Tennessee License Plate, Tennessee residents can show their support and cover the cost of high-quality books for one child every month for a whole year! Every child from birth to age five are eligible to enroll in this statewide program, at no cost to families. Enrolling is easy and free, just visit
Over two decades ago Dolly Parton created her Imagination Library with the purpose of simply inspiring a love of reading and learning in children from birth to five years old and improve early childhood literacy in her hometown.
Currently, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library gifts over two million free books to children in five countries. The program in the United States reaches 1 in 10 children under the age of five currently each month. Children who are enrolled in the free program from birth receive 60 books in their home by the time they graduate from the Imagination Library at age five.
Dolly’s commitment to this cause highlights her servant’s heart and honors her father who was her inspiration behind the program and himself, illiterate. Dolly has received volumes of accolades for her significant contributions through music, acting and charitable initiatives. Although grateful for all acknowledgments and successes, Dolly deems the Imagination Library as one of her most significant accomplishments and the most important part of her legacy.
Tennessee public schools educate students throughout 147 school districts and more than 1,700 public schools across the state. Tennessee is the #20 largest school system in the United States, serving 984,326 students across the 1,881 public schools for the 2022-23 school year.
The county in which you purchase your helping schools tag receives proceeds which contribute to the County’s general school fund to help provide supplies, equipment and training for students and certified employees. This support is integral to current and future student success, which translates into a healthier, more vibrant community for all.
St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital opened in 1962 and continues to focus on tackling the hardest-to-treat cancers, increasing survival rates and reaching more children with cancer worldwide. Saint Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of hopeless causes and a personal favorite of founder Danny Thomas, inspired the name of the hospital.
Located in Memphis, TN, the mission of St. Jude’s is to find cures for kids with cancer and other life-threatening diseases, regardless of race, ethnicity, beliefs or a family’s ability to pay.
Families consistently site this gift from St. Jude’s as one that enables them to focus on their child’s treatment and healing without the tremendous stress of huge medical bills. Eighty-two cents of every dollar donated supports the research and treatment of children and equips St. Jude’s to meet future needs. Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest independent charity evaluator, ranks St. Jude’s as one of the best places to donate.
Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt is one of the nation’s leading non-profit children’s hospitals and the largest in the Southeast. Its mission is to make health care more convenient for children and families across Tennessee. It provides specialty clinics across the state in addition to the main Nashville campus,
The Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt has received worldwide recognition for its innovative excellence in pediatric care. It is ranked nationally in 10 out of 10 pediatric specialties that include: cancer; cardiology; diabetes and endocrinology; gastroenterology and GI surgery; neonatology; nephrology; neurology and neurosurgery; orthopedics; pulmonary and lunch surgery; and urology.
All featured organizations rely heavily on the support of the community. Whether you choose to support childhood literacy, school funding or the treatment of childhood illnesses, the purchase of a specialty license plate contributes to a brighter future for our Tennessee children.
Won’t you join me in becoming a traveling advocate for a cause that matters deeply to you and our children? Note: it is suggested that you contact your local county clerk’s office to confirm they have your plate of interest before making a trip there. Here is a list of the county clerk locations across our state.
(Tracy Long is Director of Marketing & Development of The Dollywood Foundation)

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