US performing rights organization Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) has announced that the BMI Foundation’s annual Nashville Songwriting Scholarship will be revised and renamed The Dolly Parton Songwriters Award in honor of the legendary artist.
The new program will also establish The Dolly Parton Music Fund which will underwrite the annual awards to emerging songwriters as well as initiatives to provide or supplement music programs in public schools, ensuring a new generation of music creators, and a well-rounded education for all.
The awards can be used as a career grant for study, instrument purchase, recording costs, or other professional expenses and are not restricted to tuition costs. Founding endowments include a lead gift from Sony Music Publishing’s Rusty Gaston as well as a contribution from country superstar Luke Combs, who donated proceeds from the recent BMI Parking Lot Party, celebrating his nine #1 hit songs.
Dolly Parton said: “I know how personal and important songwriting is to those that have the talent, and to all the others that enjoy those that have it. I’m proud to be part of a program that will help support songwriting in any way possible. I have been with BMI since I published my first song as a child, so of course I’m very proud and honored to have a BMI Songwriters Award made in my honor.”
The Dolly Parton Songwriters Award is an annual, nationwide competition open to aspiring songwriters. The award was established in 2015 as the Nashville Songwriting Scholarship by BMI to celebrate the company’s 75th Anniversary year.
Clay Bradley, BMI Foundation Board Member and BMI’s VP, Creative, said: “The Dolly Parton Music Fund will support the work of the BMI Foundation for years to come and will make a meaningful difference in the lives of our nation’s emerging songwriters. We are excited to be working with Dolly Parton on this program, not only honoring her legacy as a songwriter, but her unwavering commitment to fostering new talent, music education, and music appreciation.”
The revised program offers $20,000 for up to two of the best original song entries in any of the following genres: Americana, blues, bluegrass, contemporary Christian, country, folk, and roots. The inaugural award will be presented in Spring 2023 with applications opening in October.