Dolly Parton is the latest recipient of the Bezos Award for Courage and Civility.
“Jeff [Bezos] and I’m so proud to share that we have a new winner of the Bezos Award for Courage and Citizenship: a woman who gives with her heart and leads with love and compassion in all aspects of her work,” posted Lauren Sanchez, the couple Bezos’ usual Instagram along with a video of his speech Friday before awarding the grant to the country music legend and longtime philanthropist.
“We can’t wait to see all the good you’ll do with that $100M prize, @DollyParton.”
Parton, who has given to various causes for decades, publicly thanked Bezos and Sanchez on Twitter.
“I try to put my money where my heart is. I’ll do my best to do good things with that money,” Parton tweeted. “Thank you @JeffBezos #LaurenSanchez”
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s vaccine research efforts. It was partially used to fund Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine.
She said in an interview at the time on the BBC’s “The One Show” that she felt “honoured and proud”.
“I was so proud to be a part of that little seed money that hopefully will turn into something great and help heal this world,” she said. “I’m a very proud girl today knowing that I had something to do with something that will help us get through this crazy pandemic.”
In 1988, Parton established the Dollywood Foundation and eventually The Imagination Library, a program that helps children around the world have access to books.
Among her philanthropic efforts in her home state of Tennessee, Parton also created the Dolly Parton Scholarship, which provides recipients with $15,000 toward a college education.
Last year, Bezos awarded $100 million each to CNN contributor Van Jones and chef José Andrés.
Bezos, the founder and former head of Amazon.com, said in a press conference at the time that the grant had no strings attached.
“They can give it all to their own charity,” Bezos said last year. “Or they can share the wealth. It’s up to them.”