Jeff Bezos may force his warehouse employees to pee in bottles, but when it comes to making headlines for charitable giving, the Amazon founder has scored an optics win - handing $100 million to 76-year-old country music star Dolly Parton as part of the 'Bezos Courage and Civility award.'
The award recognizes "leaders who aim high, find solutions and who always do it with civility," who are then tasked with distributing the $100 million to charities of their choosing, according to Bezos' girlfriend Lauren Sanchez.
"The woman you’re about to meet embodies these ideals so thoroughly. She gives with her heart. What she’s done for kids, literacy and so many other things is just incredible," Bezos said before presenting the award to Parton.
We’ve just announced a new Courage and Civility award recipient — @DollyParton, who leads with her heart, and will put this $100 million award to great use helping so many people. She joins prior awardees, @VanJones68 and @Chefjoseandres. Congrats, Dolly! pic.twitter.com/dzTuoGVp3G— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) November 12, 2022
"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. I will do my best to do good things with this money," Parton said in response to the award.
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Bezos began handing out the award in 2021. On Twitter, the world’s second-wealthiest person said Parton joined 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, which provides food in the immediate aftermath of disasters, as recipients.
‘No Child Should Ever Have to Suffer’
Parton is no stranger to charitable donations, having donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University’s Medical Center (VUMC) in Nashville for pediatric infectious disease research earlier this year.
The donation was used in part to help aid research into COVID-19 and diagnosing and treating infections in children with cancer.
“I love all children. No child should ever have to suffer, and I’m willing to do my part to try and keep as many of them as I can as healthy and safe as possible,” Parton said in a statement at the time.
The singer-songwriter made a previous $1 million gift to VUMC in April 2020 in honor of her longtime friend, Dr. Naji Abumrad, to help aid researchers in finding a cure for COVID-19.
Parton has also donated to a number of other charitable organizations including the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, Save the Music Foundation, the Boot Campaign, and Cancer Research UK. She has also worked with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to raise awareness and help stop dog owners from chaining up the animals and leaving them outside.
Additionally, Parton herself has also founded multiple charities, including the Dollywood Foundation, which was founded in 1988 and under which the Imagination Library program was established. That program spans over five countries and gifts over 1 million free books each month to children around the world.
The singer was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame earlier this month after previously declining the invitation, admitting she felt that she “hadn’t earned the right.”