IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Dolly Parton receives $100 million Bezos Courage and Civility award

“What she’s done for kids, literacy and so many other things is just incredible," Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said in presenting Parton with the award.
Dolly Parton in New York on Oct. 13, 2022.
Dolly Parton in New York on Oct. 13.Andres Kudacki / AP file

Dolly Parton was awarded a $100 million prize as part of the Bezos Courage and Civility award Saturday by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his longtime partner, Lauren Sanchez.

The award recognizes "leaders who aim high, find solutions and who always do it with civility," granting them the money to direct to the charity they see fit, Sanchez said Saturday evening.

Before he presented Parton with the award, Bezos said: “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.”

“Wow! Did you say a $100 million?” Parton said after she was called to the stage. "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."

Parton is a philanthropist in her own right.

In 2020, she donated $1 million to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center for Covid-19 research — an act that played a role in the success of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine.

“My Longtime friend Dr. Naji Abumrad, who’s been involved in research at Vanderbilt for many years, informed me that they were making some exciting advancements towards research of the coronavirus for a cure,” she wrote on Instagram in April 2020. “I am making a donation of $1 million to Vanderbilt towards that research and to encourage people that can afford it to make donations.”

And her philanthropy doesn't stop there. In 2016, her Dollywood Foundation donated $1,000 per month to families affected by wildfires in Tennessee, and the payments continued for six months. In 1995, she founded Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a literacy program that has donated more than 100 million children’s books.

Parton joins TV host Van Jones and Spanish chef José Andrés, who received the honor in 2021, as recipients of the award.