Dolly Parton is one of this year’s Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy recipients, having made a significant donation to help fund coronavirus vaccine research in 2020.
Lyda Hill of Dallas, Kenyan industrialist Manu Chandaria, and Lynn and Stacy Schusterman of the Oklahoma investment family are also being honored.
The award, given by the international family of Carnegie institutions to recognize innovative philanthropists, debuted in 2001 and is given every two years. Due to the pandemic, it was not issued in 2021.
On October 13, the 2022 honorees will be presented with their medals in a private ceremony in New York. 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 gift to Vanderbilt University Medical Center has gotten a lot of press. Her fellow honoree, Lyda Hill Philanthropies, was an early donor to the work that resulted in the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
Hill told The Associated Press, “I invested before it was anything.” “One of Warren Buffett’s quotes that stuck with me was, ‘Don’t do what other people can and will do.’ Do what others cannot or will not do. And take chances.’ That is something I’ve had to apply to my philanthropic investments.”
Hill, who focuses her funding on advances in science and nature conservation, as well as women in those fields, said she never received a Moderna audition.
“Unfortunately,” Hill explained, “when I went to get my vaccine, I rolled up my sleeves and asked, ‘What do you have?'” ‘Pfizer,’ she said. “OK,” I said.
Parton expressed her gratitude for receiving the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy in a statement.
“I’ve always believed that if you are in a position to help, you should help,” said Parton, who will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in November and makes the majority of her donations through her Dollywood Foundation.
The Schustermans are examples of philanthropists whose contributions have had a long-term impact, as well as making timely grants to address current needs.
The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation was founded in 1987 to invest in systemic change in matters of justice and equity in the United States and Israel. Lynn Schusterman took over the foundation after Charles died in 2000, expanding its work and becoming an outspoken advocate for inclusion, particularly for the LGBTQ community. Stacy Schusterman, their daughter, took over the foundation in 2018, renaming it Schusterman Family Philanthropies and expanding its work to include reproductive equity, voting rights, and criminal justice — all hot-button issues this summer.
She expressed her joy at carrying on her parents’ work and stated that she will be honored alongside her mother.
The Chandaria Foundation began as a family business in the 1950s, though the Kenyan-born industrialist of Indian descent had to persuade his family first.
Chandaria recalls his father asking if something was wrong with him and if he had lived in the United States for too long when he first brought up the issue. “We are not the Rockefellers,” said Chandaria’s father. “You should get to work.” There’s a gap over there.”
However, by 1956, they had established a charitable organization that provided scholarships in Kenya, and its work has since expanded to building education and healthcare infrastructure in Africa.
According to Isaacs, the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy is intended to recognize the honorees’ work in their various fields and locations. This year, the Carnegie institutions will also launch the Carnegie Catalyst award, which will go to World Central Kitchen, the anti-hunger nonprofit founded by chef Jose Andres.
Vartan Gregorian, the late president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York and co-founder of the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy, who died in 2021, was the inspiration for this award.