Jeff Bezos announced he is donating $100 million to singer and philanthropist Dolly Parton for her to give away to the charitable groups she chooses. Bezos shared the news and a short video on Twitter on Saturday of an event at which he and his partner, Lauren Sanchez, gave the 2022 Bezos Courage and Civility award to Parton.
Sanchez, in her remarks, explained that the award “recognizes leaders who aim high, find solutions, and always do it with civility. Each awardee receives $100 million to direct to the charities that they see fit.”
Upon receiving the award, Parton first said, “What? Did you say a hundred million dollars?” She went on to say, “When people are in a position to help, you should help,” per the video. “I know that I’ve always said I try to put my money where my heart is,” she continued. “I will do my best to do good things with this money. Thank you Jeff.”
Parton is known for donating books to children through her foundation’s Imagination Library. She also donated $1 million toward the research behind Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine. In July 2022, she was named an awardee of the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy.
Her Dollywood Foundation is a public charity, which means that it brings in funding from anyone who wishes to donate to it. In 2020, the most recent year for which finances are available, the Dollywood Foundation made $3.6 million of contributions and grants.
In July 2021, Bezos named the first two recipients of this award: World Central Kitchen founder Jose Andres and TV personality and Dream Corp founder Van Jones.
On Monday November 7, filings showed that Bezos made the biggest donation of Amazon stock so far this year– a gift of $174 million of shares to unspecified charitable organizations. It’s possible that part of the recent gift of stock was to a charitable vehicle controlled by Parton.
A spokesperson for Bezos has not yet replied to a request for comment.
Bezos is the currently the world’s fourth richest person, worth an estimated $124 billion, according to Forbes. His lifetime giving is estimated by Forbes at $2.4 billion, not including this new gift.