At a recent event, Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos named Dolly Parton as the latest winner of his Courage and Civility Award.
The award recognizes leaders who “aim high, find solutions, and always do it with civility”. Each awardee receives 100 million dollars to invest in the charities of their choice.
In Dolly’s case, the mega-donation could be invested in her Imagination Library, which two months ago hit the milestone of 190 million free books gifted to children.
“(She) embodies these ideals so thoroughly,” said Bezos, who stepped down from CEO of his company last year to focus on philanthropy.
“She gives with her heart. What she’s done for kids and literacy, and so many other things, is just incredible.”
In her acceptance remarks, Dolly said, “When people are in the position to help, you should help.” She thanked Bezos and said she believes he gives from the heart too.
The 58-year-old tech billionaire is the world’s fourth richest person. He told CNN last week that he was setting up the foundations for the ability to give away the vast majority of his $124 billion fortune during his lifetime.
A year ago, Bezos pledged $10 billion over 10 years to the Bezos Earth Fund, to be spent on expanding and monitoring protected areas and conservation. That was on top of the ten-thousand millions he’d already devoted towards combating climate change.
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In 2021, he awarded the first two Courage and Civility Awards, accompanied by the same amount of money. The first winner was José Andrés, who feeds masses of people after humanitarian disasters with his nonprofit World Central Kitchen—with some of those millions going to help war-torn Ukrainians.
Van Jones, whose work in the nonprofit world mainly in the sphere of criminal justice reform, received the second.
In 2018, Bezos topped the Philanthropy 50 list, ranking as the US’s biggest donor, compiled by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
His former wife and partner of 23 years, MacKenzie Scott, has given away close to $4 billion, donating to 465 organizations in less than a year.