Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez just revealed the latest recipient of the Bezos Courage and Civility Award: country music star and philanthropist Dolly Parton.
“Jeff and I are so proud to share that we have a new Bezos Courage and Civility Award winner—a woman who gives with her heart and leads with love and compassion in every aspect of her work,” Lauren Sanchez wrote on Instagram, announcing the news. “We can’t wait to see all the good that you’re going to do with this $100 million award, @DollyParton. ❤️”
The media personality posted a video of the award presentation and Parton’s short speech.
“The award recognizes leaders who aim high, find solutions and who always do it with civility,” Sanchez explained. “Each awardee receives $100 million to direct to the charities that they see fit.”
Bezos added that this year’s winner is someone who “thoroughly embodies” these ideals. Parton donated $1 million to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center at the start of the pandemic and the money was partly used to fund Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine. She has also established the Dollywood Foundation, the Dolly Parton Scholarship and The Imagination Library.
“She gives with her heart—what she's done for kids’ literacy and so many other things is just incredible,” Bezos continued before calling Parton up on stage.
“WOW! Did you say $100 million,” Parton jokingly asked Bezos as she walked up on stage. “When people are in position to help, you should help. I’ve always said I try to put my money where my heart is, and I think you do the same thing. I want to do my best to do good things with this money. Thank you, Jeff.”
The $100 million award comes with a no-strings-attached policy, meaning recipients can use it as they please.
“They can give it all to their own charity,” the Amazon founder said when he awarded Van Jones and José Andrés last year. “Or they can share the wealth. It is up to them.”
Bezos was asked directly by CNN on Nov. 14 if he was planning to donate more of his wealth within his lifetime. The 58-year-old said yes, adding that he wants to give a “majority” of his $124 billion net worth to fighting climate change and unifying a society facing social and political division. Purchasing an NFL team may also be in the pipeline for the fourth-richest person in the world.