‘Did you say $100M?’ Dolly Parton receives $100M Courage and Civility Award from Jeff Bezos

Dolly Parton was given the $100 million Courage and Civility Award by Jeff Bezos and his partner Lauren Sanchez.

The award is provided to “leaders who aim high, find solutions and who always do it with civility” and the funds are to be donated to the charity of their choice, Sanchez said over the weekend.

“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!” Bezos announced via Twitter on Saturday.

The country music legend, now a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member, received the award with gratitude and pledged to do her “best to do good things” with the money she was awarded.

If there is a celebrity who can be entrusted with doling out $100 million effectively, and without hubris, it seems that Dolly Parton would be the obvious choice. Parton has entered something nearing sainthood in her native Tennessee where her philanthropy is a constant presence. After a wildfire ravaged the communities in the Smoky Mountains in 2016, Parton went to work raising money for her fellow East Tennesseans. Parton’s efforts resulted in granting each family affected by the wildfires $10,000. But her work in her native state doesn’t stop there.

In February of this year, her Dollywood Parks and Resorts – the flagship amusement park is located in Pigeon Forge, TN – announced that they will be offering their “seasonal, part-time and full-time employees” who are seeking to further their education a grant that will cover 100% of the costs associated with their schooling, from tuition to their textbooks. The program will be available for over 11,000 eligible employees across its 25 attractions in the United States.

“Whether it’s to pursue a new dream or advance their career with us, we care about our employees’ personal and professional growth, because we believe that their futures should be grown with love, not loans,” said CEO Andrew Wexler. “Our team members’ success is our success – and that’s why we’re thrilled to make this benefit available to all, regardless of their role in the company and without the burden of debt.”

Parton’s renowned philanthropy extends far past her own personal ventures as well. During the pandemic, she donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s vaccine research efforts.

Odds are if you or someone you know has had a child in recent years, they too have been a recipient of Parton’s generosity. Through the Dollywood Foundation, her Imagination Library donates free high-quality books to children under the age of 5 across the world. According to its website, 1 in 10 American children receive a free monthly book from the library, and as of October 2022, the foundation has gifted over 193 million books.

Last year, after hearing state legislation planned on erecting a statue of her at the state’s capitol, Parton wrote to the legislature politely asking them to refrain.

“I want to thank the Tennessee legislature for their consideration of a bill to erect a statue of me on the Capitol grounds,” read Parton’s statement.”I am honored and humbled by their intention but I have asked the leaders of the state legislature to remove the bill from any and all consideration.”

“In the meantime, I’ll continue to try to do good work to make this great state proud,” her statement concluded. And with her newest accolade and the funds that go along with it, it appears to be a safe bet she will continue to do so.


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