Dolly Parton Awarded $100 Million To Give To Charity Of Her Choice From Jeff Bezos

Dolly Parton; Photo Courtesy of Getty Images for ACM
Dolly Parton; Photo Courtesy of Getty Images for ACM
Dolly Parton; Photo Courtesy of Getty Images for ACM

Country music legend, Dolly Parton has received $100 million from Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos and his partner Lauren Sanchez, to put towards charities of her choosing.

On Friday (Nov. 11), Parton was awarded the Bezos Award for Courage & Civility, which according to Sanchez who announced the honor, “recognizes leaders who aim high, find solutions, and who always do it with civility. Each awardee receives a hundred million dollars to direct to the charities that they see fit.”

“We have in this very room, the recipient of the next Courage and Civility Award,” Bezos added in a pre-recorded video that was posted to his social media platforms. “The woman you’re about to meet embodies these ideals so thoroughly.”

“She gives with her heart,” he continued. “What she’s done for kids, for illiteracy and so many other things — is just incredible. It is my great honor to welcome the 2022 Courage and Civility recipient up on stage, Dolly Parton.”

In sharing the video to Instagram Sanchez shared a few of her own words regarding the recipient. 

Her caption read, “Jeff and I are so proud to share that we have a new Bezos Courage and Civility Award winner — a woman who gives with her heart and leads with love and compassion in every aspect of her work. We can’t wait to see all the good that you’re going to do with this $100 million award, @DollyParton. ❤️”

Dolly Parton; Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Dolly Parton; Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

As Parton approached the stage to accept this great honor, she earned a roar of laughter from those in attendance as she said, “Did you say 100 million dollars?!” 

Donning a sparkly, black gown, the “9 To 5” singer officially began her acceptance speech by saying, “When people are in a position to help, you should help, and I know that I’ve always said I try to put my money where my heart is, and I think you do the same thing.”

“I’m going to try do my best to do good things with this money,” Parton promised Bezos before thanking him. 

Aside from her bubbly personality and impeccable musical talent, Parton is also known for her generous philanthropic efforts. She has made it her mission to always find ways to help those around her, especially children.  

Dolly Parton; Photo by Getty Images for ACM Awards
Dolly Parton; Photo by Getty Images for ACM Awards

In 1995, Parton launched the Imagination Library project, and by 2003, one million books had been mailed out to children and not long after, the program went international. It extended beyond the U.S. to branches in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and The Republic of Ireland. As a result, the program has now donated almost 170 million books to children under the age of five.

On October 13, she was honored with the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy during the formal awards ceremony that was held New York City. The singer/songwriter was given a medal to wear in recognition of “her investments in alleviating poverty, strengthening early childhood education through the distribution of free books worldwide, increasing college access, and advancing medical research.”

Earlier this summer, it was also revealed that Parton had donated $1 million to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville for pediatric infectious disease research. This followed her generous gift of $1 million to the university in 2020, which was put towards research into the Moderna COVID vaccine.

Just a few days before accepting the Bezos Award for Courage & Civility, Dolly Parton became an official member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. She was inducted by P!nk who said, “Dolly you’re amazing. You bring people together and you put so much light and joy into the world and we all love you so much and I am beyond honored… It is my pleasure to induct you into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame”  

“I guess I’m a rock star now!” Parton declared as she took the stage. 

“This is a very special night for me,” Parton said. “I’m sure a lot of you knew that back when they said they were gonna put me in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I didn’t really feel like I had done enough to deserve that. And I didn’t understand at the time that it’s about more than that. But I’m just honored and so proud to be here tonight.”

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