In an e-mail titled "Amazon doesn't care about us?" Slog tipper Aaron writes:
I saw The Nutcracker at McCaw Hall last week, and while looking through the program I realized something. Under donations to PNWB, Microsoft and Boeing were at the top of the list. Who wasn't on the list? Amazon. Come to think of it, I can't remember EVER seeing Amazon's logo on anything related to supporting the community and arts. Microsoft, Boeing, and Starbucks? Absolutely. Am I missing something? Is there at least some Ballard theatre group Amazon helped fund? Or does Amazon really not give a fuck about us? I've heard Jeff Bezos is some money-obsessed libertarian, so maybe I shouldn't be surprised.
For sure, Amazon doesn't have the same charitable giving structure that Microsoft and Boeing have, Aaron. So far as I know, they still don't offer matching donations, and their name is almost always missing from the big donor lists where you'll find Microsoft and Boeing and other local organizations. I've been writing about their lack of giving since April of 2008. In the time since that story, they've started giving a little bit of money to different organizations—the biggest local recipient, I believe, is the Hugo House, although they also funded the Stranger's Literature Genius award this year, too. They also provide money to 826 Seattle, ACT Theatre, and other organizations, both local and not. You can find a full list of present and former Amazon.com recipients right here.
But the fact remains that what Amazon.com offers is a drop in the bucket compared to every other organization. (Hell, they pony up way more for Jeff Bezos's bodyguard service than they provide for the arts.) If you measure how much a corporation cares about their community by how much they pour into local arts organizations—and there are very few other thermometers available to rate corporate concern, frankly—then the answer is no. Amazon doesn't give a fuck about Seattle.
The only way to express your displeasure for Amazon.com's charitable giving policy is with your cash. Stop doing business with them, and tell them why you're not doing business with them anymore. If you as a consumer want to support the local economy, you should spend your money with local organizations that spend money locally. Back when I started writing about this story, when everyone was concerned that the bottom was dropping out on business, people made up all kinds of excuses for why Amazon should be so thrifty. But now, when people are openly discussing Occupying Amazon, the company needs to reassess their corporate values and consider whether they should become responsible neighbors. After years of branding to get their logo recognized by everyone, customers are starting to pay attention to where the Amazon logo isn't.