Country music star and philanthropist Dolly Parton has received a $100m prize from the Bezos Courage & Civility Award, an honour that recognises leaders who “pursue solutions with courage and civility”.
Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of Amazon.com and owner of the space rocket company Blue Origin, announced the award last week along with his longtime partner, news anchor Lauren Sanchez.
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Sanchez said on Instagram that Parton is “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,” she said.
Parton, in a video clip of the ceremony posted online, said, “Wow! Did you say $100m?”
“I think people who are in a position to help should put their money where their heart is. I will do my best to do good things with this money,” she said.
Parton, 76, a country, pop and gospel singer-songwriter, whose songs include I Will Always Love You, Jolene and many other hits over the decades, has been a philanthropist for many years.
She donated $1m to Vanderbilt University Medical Center to help develop a vaccine during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Parton, who was inducted this month into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, has also founded a number of charities, including the Dollywood Foundation, which focuses on education as well as poverty relief.
The Courage & Civility Award was started in 2021 when Bezos awarded two $100m prizes, one to activist Van Jones, who served as founding CEO of the REFORM Alliance and Dream Corps, and chef and humanitarian Jose Andres, who established World Central Kitchen to provide food to affected people in the aftermath of disasters.