Published by the Associate Press
NEW YORK (AP) — Dolly Parton was jokingly uncharitable after the crowd at the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy ceremony tried singing along with her during her acceptance speech at Gotham Hall.
“That was terrible,” the Grammy-winning country superstar said after a muted sing-along of “Books, Books,” the song she wrote to support her Imagination Library initiative. That philanthropic program, which provides children under five a free book every month, was one of the reasons she was part of this year’s class of Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy honorees, as well as her donation to coronavirus vaccine research in 2020 that helped develop the Moderna vaccine.
“I’m very proud and honored to be a part of anything that is going to make the world a better place,” Parton said, adding that she was pleased to be celebrated along with Dallas entrepreneur Lyda Hill, Kenyan industrialist Manu Chandaria, and Lynn and Stacy Schusterman, from the Oklahoma investment family.
The ceremony Thursday night celebrated the 20th anniversary of the award, which was established in 2001 as the “Nobel Prize of philanthropy.” To mark the milestone, which was postponed a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Carnegie institutions launched the Carnegie Catalyst award to “celebrate the transformative power of human kindness.” The award went to World Central Kitchen, the anti-hunger nonprofit founded by chef Jose Andres.
Stacy Schusterman, chair of the Schusterman Family Philanthropies, said she was proud to accept the award with her mother, Lynn, as the first mother-daughter team to be honored in the award’s history. However, she said there is also an urgent need for philanthropy to be more collaborative and to take on more challenges to improve society.
“The U.S. was founded with ideals we have yet to realize,” she said in her acceptance speech. “When we say, ‘All men are created equal,’ it is clear ‘men’ does not yet mean all Americans, including women, gender expansive people, and all ethnicities, races and religions.”