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.