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Dolly Parton, LGBTQ+ Icon, Awarded $100 Million for Charity Work

Dolly Parton

There are now $100 million more reasons to love Dolly Parton, as she continues to give to so many.

Country music icon, budding rock star (her first rock album drops November 18), and all-around American legend Dolly Parton received the Bezos Award for Courage and Civility on Saturday.

The award is given to those who "aim high, find solutions, and always do it with civility," as one presenter described in a video announcement.

The ardent philanthropist donated $1 million for the COVID-19 research behind the Moderna vaccine and her Dollywood Foundation's Imagination Library program has donated more than 186 million books to children around the world.

Dolly, who was just inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, where she performed with Rob Halford on "Jolene," "gives with her heart. What she's done for kids, and literacy, and so many other things, is just incredible," said Jeff Bezos, referencing the work she's done via the Imagination Library.

The program provides free books to children -- internationally -- from birth until their first year of school and hosts the "buddy system," which promised middle schoolers in Sevier County, Tenn., $500 if they picked a buddy in the seventh or eigth grade and both graduated high school. Dropout rates in the first year of the program went from more than 30 percent to 6 percent, according to Parton's website.

Her Eagle Mountain Sanctuary at her Dollywood amusement park in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., homes un-releasable (to the wild) eagles, and she has donated funds to Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the Boot Campaign for veterans, Save the Music Foundation, and the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes.

"I try to put my money where my heart is. I will do my best to do good things with this money Thank you @JeffBezos #LaurenSanchez" she said in a tweet responding to the announcement.

Past recipients include non-profit co-founder and news commentator Van Jones and Spanish chef Jose Andres, who runs World Central Kitchen, a non-profit that provides meals to those who have experienced natural disasters.

"When people are in a position to help, they should help," Parton said while accepting the honor.

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