In a surprisingly unlikely duo, Jeff Bezos has teamed up with country music singer and global icon Dolly Parton, awarding her with $100 million to donate as she pleases. In what can only be described as the Amazon founder’s most recent attempt to soften his image, Bezos granted this vast sum of money to Parton during a ceremony for his organisation’s Courage and Civility awards, which he launched in 2021.
According to the BBC, the award was presented to Parton—by Bezos and his partner Lauren Sanchez—for her philanthropic efforts and generosity. Sanchez described the legendary performer as “a woman who gives with her heart and leads with love and compassion in every aspect of her work.”
The incredible work Parton has done for young children in the US is remarkable, to say the least. Her Imagination Library, which began in 1995, has gifted over 193,008,232 books to children across the country—which translates to one in ten children under the age of five having received a free book from this crucial scheme.
The Bezos Courage and Civility awards began just last year in 2021 with prizes bestowed to news commentator and activist Van Jones, and chef José Andrés, founder of non-profit organisation World Central Kitchen which provides meals in the wake of natural disasters.
In a video shared by Bezos on Twitter, he is seen presenting the award to Parton and stating: “She gives with her heart, what she’s done for kids, and literacy and so many other things is just incredible.”
In classic Dolly fashion, the singer responded, “Wow! Did you say 100 million dollars!” She continued: “When people are in a position to help, you should help. I know I’ve always said, I try to put my money where my heart is, and [gesturing to Bezos and Sanchez] I think you do the same thing.”
Well, not that we’d ever consider disagreeing with the woman who created Dollywood, Bezos has been known to exaggerate his humanitarianism—particularly when it comes to his achilles heel, Amazon. While Bezos’ recent contributions to helping fight climate change are inherently commendable, these actions fall to the wayside when we consider his company’s extensive history of underpaying and mistreating its workers.
On the other hand, Bezos’ ex-wife MacKenzie Scott, has a very lengthy history of donating gigantic sums of money to charity. In September 2022, she donated two of her mansions worth a sum of $55 million—both of whom she’d previously shared with Bezos—to charity, and in 2020 it was reported that Scott had also given approximately $4.2 billion to underfunded colleges and universities across the country.
It’s truly incredible what a healthy glow and the much-needed release of excess baggage can do to a person.
Mackenzie Scott, one of the richest women in the world and ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has made headlines once again. The billionaire philanthropist and novelist announced on Tuesday 15 June that she had given away a further $2.7 billion to 286 organisations. This is the third round of announcements made by Scott regarding her philanthropy—in 2020, she made two similar surprise announcements and donated around $6 billion to a number of causes, including COVID-19 relief, gender equity, historically black educational institutions, among many more.
Much of Scott’s wealth comes from her 2019 divorce from Bezos, who still remains the world’s richest man. If you missed the news about Bezos flying to space last week, and how you can join him, you can catch up on all you need to know here. Scott still owns 4 per cent shares of multi-national gigantic corporation Amazon, having helped Bezos start the company in the mid-90s. Despite the mammoth size of these donations, she’s still far from being out of pocket. According to Forbes, Scott scores a respectable 22nd richest individual in the world—not bad out of a figure of around 7.6 billion, right?
In a recent blog post released on 15 June 2021, Scott said she was keen to redistribute her wealth, having worked with a team of researchers, as well as her new husband, on who to donate to. In the statement, she said, “In this effort, we are governed by a humbling belief that it would be better if disproportionate wealth were not concentrated in a small number of hands and that the solutions are best designed and implemented by others.”
Scott’s new husband, Dan Jewett said in a letter, “In a stroke of happy coincidence, I am married to one of the most generous and kind people I know—and joining her in a commitment to pass on an enormous financial wealth to serve others.”