NEW YORK (AP) — Country superstar Dolly Parton, who made a big donation to help fund coronavirus vaccine research in 2020, is among this year’s Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy recipients.
Also being honored are Dallas entrepreneur Lyda Hill, Kenyan industrialist Manu Chandaria, and Lynn and Stacy Schusterman, from the Oklahoma investment family.
The award, presented by the international family of Carnegie institutions to honor innovative philanthropists, debuted in 2001 and is normally awarded every two years. It was not issued in 2021 due to the pandemic.
The 2022 honorees will receive their medals in a private ceremony in New York on Oct. 13. A priority of the ceremony is fostering personal meetings to encourage the exchange of ideas and spur potential collaboration — something this year’s honorees have already done, said Eric Isaacs, president of the Carnegie Institution for Science and a member of the medal selection committee.
Parton’s $1 million donation to Vanderbilt University Medical Center has received plenty of attention. But her fellow honoree Hill, through her Lyda Hill Philanthropies, was also an early donor to the work that would yield the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
“I invested before it was anything,” Hill told The Associated Press. “One of the things that Warren Buffett said that stuck with me was, ‘Don’t do what other people can do and will do. Do what other people can’t do and won’t do. And take risks.’ I have had to apply that to my philanthropic investments.”
Hill, who focuses her funding on advances in science and nature conservancy, as well as supporting women in those careers, said she never did get a Moderna shot.
“Unfortunately,” Hill said, “when I went to get my vaccine, I rolled my sleeves up and said, ‘What do you got?’ And she said, ‘Pfizer.’ I said, ‘OK.’”
Parton, in a statement, said she was honored to receive the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy.
“I’ve always believed that if you are in a position to help, you should help, and I truly hope that I can be an inspiration for others to lift up those around them,” said Parton, who will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in November, and makes most of her donations through her Dollywood Foundation. “Whether through my Imagination Library or giving to COVID-19 research, I try to support things that have a special meaning for me. I hope everyone can find something they’re passionate about supporting and do what they can to help make this world a better place.”