Philanthropy has long been important to Dolly Parton, and now, she’ll be able to do a whole lot more of it. The country legend was awarded $100 million from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos this month to allocate to charities of her choosing.
The country legend is no stranger to sending large sums of money to good causes -- she donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University’s Medical Center to help fund a COVID-19 vaccine, and her own Dollywood Foundation has a wide-reaching impact on children’s education and poverty relief -- but even Dolly was a little stunned when she first learned that she’d been awarded the $100 million Bezos Courage and Civility Award.
“Well, I couldn’t believe it. First of all, I cried on the phone with Jeff Bezos,” she recounts. “And when I found out he was really serious about it, I just cried because of the gift and how much good I will really be able to do with that.”
As for the specifics, Dolly says she needs “to think about it and ...let my heart lead me on these things,” adding that she already knows one thing: The money will provide much-needed support to someone in need.
“I can guarantee you, I’ll be able to do a lot of good for a lot of needy causes and a lot of needy good people,” she says.