That’ll buy a lot of books: Jeff Bezos and his partner Lauren Sánchez have given Dolly Parton the Courage and Civility Award, a $100 million prize that enables the beloved philanthropist to “do good things.”
“We have in this very room, the recipient of the next Courage and Civility Award,” Bezos said in a social media video of the event. “The woman you’re about to meet embodies these ideals so thoroughly. She gives with her heart. What she’s done for kids, for illiteracy and so many other things — is just incredible. It is my great honor to welcome the 2022 Courage and Civility recipient up on stage: Dolly Parton.”
Parton joined him at the podium and quipped, “Did you say 100 million dollars?”
“When people are in a position to help, you should help,” Parton told the cheering onlookers. “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.”
She closed with a pledge: “I’m going to do my best to do good things with this money. Thank you, Jeff.”
Journalist Van Jones and chef Jose Andres are the previous recipients of the Courage and Civility Award. Parton has been a consistent force for social good, most famously with her Imagination Library, which has donated 150 million books to children. She also recently gave $1 million to pediatric infectious disease research, and before that donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, which successfully helped create Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.
However, she consistently refuses accolades that don’t help anyone but herself, twice turning down the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and she also asked the Tennessee State Legislature to pull legislation that would have erected a Dolly Parton statue. On November 5th, in defiance of her initial protests, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
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! pic.twitter.com/dzTuoGVp3GAdvertisement
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) November 12, 2022