Dolly Parton has always followed her heart, whether she was singing barefoot on the front porch of her Tennessee mountain home or cracking jokes onstage alongside a billionaire who offered her a nine-figure amount.
And the Queen of Country has followed her heart to become many things — a leading writer to the American songbook, a wonderful performer, an Island in the Stream — but she is a giver first and foremost.
Since Saturday, she is able to contribute even more. Parton received the $100 million Courage and Civility Award from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his long-term girlfriend Lauren Sanchez.
She may donate the funds to any charitable organization of her choosing. That could purchase coats of MANY hues.
“Wow! Did you say $100 million?!” Parton stated as she accepted the trophy.
This is the second year in a row that Bezos has presented the prize. In 2012, he gave $100 million to chef and disaster relief specialist José Andrés and CNN commentator and activist Van Jones.
Parton said in a video Bezos published on Saturday, “When individuals are in a position to help, they should help.” “I try to invest where my heart lies.”
Parton has not stated what she will do with the money, but she has a number of ongoing charitable endeavors. She has contributed to the stigmatization of HIV/AIDS, according to the Los Angeles Times. Her bald eagle conservation efforts earned her the Partnership Award from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. She worked with PETA to prevent dog owners from chaining and leaving their pets outside.
She works significantly more than her song “9 to 5” implies.
Since 1995, her most well-known organization, Imagination Library, has donated approximately 200 million books to youngsters. The program is administered by the Dollywood Foundation.
According to its 990 form, the Dollywood Foundation spent $22.2 million of its $35 million budget on books for the Imagination Library in 2019.
Parton was also awarded the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy in 2022 for combating poverty and “strengthening early childhood education through the international distribution of free books.”
Her commitment to education extends beyond the realm of children. This year, the parent business of the Dollywood entertainment park stated that tuition, fees, and books for staff pursuing higher education will be covered in full.
Despite her popularity and prosperity, Parton never forgets where she came from. Approximately two doors down, one could say.
In 2016, as wildfires threatened her native Sevier County, Tennessee, she provided financial assistance to individuals whose houses were destroyed. Parton also said last year that she had put the money from Whitney Houston’s cover of “I Will Always Love You” (recorded for the 1992 movie “The Bodyguard”) into Sevier Park, a historically Black neighborhood in Nashville.
She also gave $1 million to Vanderbilt University for coronavirus research, largely supporting the vaccine developed by the biotechnology company Moderna.
And – here she is again — there’s also the music.
According to her website, Parton has recorded music for fifty years and created roughly twice as many albums. (You know you’ve collected a lot of information when the list on your website can be sorted using Excel.)
Her musical influence cannot be denied. Nearly two decades ago, the Library of Congress awarded Parton its Living Legend medal.
She was offered a position in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s 2022 induction class, but she denied the offer, which is paradoxically one of the most rock-and-roll things a person can do. She claimed that her lack of deservingness drove her to release a rock album. This month, the Hall of Fame rejected her refusal, and she was inducted.
As evidenced by her 5.5 million Twitter followers, Parton’s popularity has increased throughout the years. Although it pays people to do its polls, YouGov discovered that Parton received the most favorable responses of any musician.
She recently received $100 million for charity because she has been humanitarian throughout her whole professional career.
It is safe to say that America will always love Dolly, from young individuals whose lives have been changed by the Dollywood Foundation to old fans.