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Dolly Parton was awarded a $100 million prize as part of the Bezos Courage and Civility award on 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” and grants them the money to direct to the charity they see fit, Sanchez said on Saturday evening.

“The woman you’re about to meet embodies these ideals so thoroughly, she gives with her heart,” Bezos said of the country music star before presenting her with the award. “What she’s done for kids, literacy and so many other things is just incredible.”

“Wow! Did you say a $100 million dollars?” 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.”

The country singer 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 Moderna vaccine’s success.

“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 in an Instagram post 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 impacted by wildfires in Tennessee, and those payments continued for six months. In 1995, she founded Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a literacy program that’s donated more than 100 million children’s books.

Parton now joins TV host Van Jones and Spanish chef Jose Andres, who received the honor in 2021, as a recipient of the Courage and Civility award.




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