Dolly Parton receives $100 million Courage and Civility award from Jeff Bezos: "I try to put my money where my heart is"

Legendary country singer and songwriter Dolly Parton has been awarded a $100 million Courage and Civility award by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his partner, Lauren Sanchez. The money is to be directed toward charities that the recipient sees fit, Sanchez said Friday when announcing the award.

“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,” Parton said to Bezos when accepting to grant.

Parton tweeted that she would “do my best to do good things with this money.”

The 76-year-old music icon has long been known as a philanthropist. Her Dollywood Foundation, aimed at boosting graduation rates in her home county, was launched in 1988, according to the foundation’s website. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a book gifting program that mails free, high-quality books to children from birth to age five, no matter their family’s income, was then launched in 1995, the website said. 

In 2020, Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University’s Medical Center to help her friend, Dr. Naji Abumrad, develop the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Parton went on to receive her vaccine from Abumrad himself in a video in which she encouraged others to get vaccinated as well.

Parton in 2016 hosted “Smoky Mountains Rise: A Benefits for the My People Fund,” a live telethon that raised money for people whose homes were destroyed by wildfires in the Great Smoky Mountains.

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