The iconic singer and songwriter is the latest recipient of the Bezos Courage & Civility Award, which recognizes “leaders who aim high, find solutions and who always do it with civility,” comments journalist and Bezos’ partner Lauren Sanchez.
Each awardee is expected to direct the sum to “the charities that they see fit,” adds Sanchez during a presentation, posted to social channels Sunday (Nov. 13).
Parton, notes Bezos, “embodies these ideas so thoroughly. She gives with her heart, what she’s done for kids, and literacy and so many other things, is just incredible.” She will “put this $100 million award to great use helping so many people,” he continues.
Parton was typically modest of her fine work. “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,” she said as she took the podium to receive the award in front of music industry luminaries, including Clive Davis. “I will do my best to do good things with this money.”
In a record-smashing music career spanning six decades, Parton has written roughly 3,000 songs and recorded more than 50 studio albums — with the promise of more to come.
Parton’s “living legend” status extends well beyond the world of music. The 76-year-old Tennessee native has founded a string of charities including the Dollywood Foundation, which focuses on education and poverty relief. Last year, it emerged that she donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University’s Medical Center to help develop a vaccine during the COVID-19 pandemic, she was included in the Time 100 and People of the Year honors, raised $700,000 for Tennessee flood relief and found the time to release a new fragrance.
During her speech at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony Nov. 5, 2022 at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, she teased an upcoming rock album. She also treated the audience to a new rock song that had her declaring: “I still got rock and roll down in my country soul.”
Amazon’s Courage and Civility award was started in 2021, with prizes bestowed to activist Van Jones, who served as founding CEO of the REFORM Alliance and Dream Corps, and chef and humanitarian Jose Andres, who established World Central Kitchen, which provides food in disaster-hit areas around the globe.