By Tenisha Taylor, CEO
Ezekiel Taylor Scholarship Foundation
It is extremely disheartening and disappointing to receive the news that Amazon is discontinuing its philanthropic division, Smile.Amazon.
Thousands of organizations, nonprofits, schools/churches around the GLOBE benefit from Amazon shoppers who elect to have a small percentage of their sale support the charity of their choice. It was a win-win for humanity.
As the CEO of the Ezekiel Taylor Scholarship Foundation, we provide scholarships and mentorship to African-American males who’ve been impacted by gun violence in Chicago. Many of these young men rely on us for college funding, mentorship, and life skill programming. Our goal is to impact their lives for the advancement of our community. And as partners with AmazonSmile, we are successful in creating change.
The reality is that members of our community spend billions of dollars with Amazon, our dollars are the reason why Amazon is successful. And in turn, it makes good business practice to support the communities that patronize you. Especially communities of color, along with disadvantaged, marginalized and indigenous communities.
To witness Jeff Bezos become one of the richest men in the world, yet to have his company release a statement that reads “our ability to have an impact was often spread too thin” is an insult. How did they arrive at that conclusion? Did Amazon survey the millions of nonprofits that benefit from the program? We’re spread thin on the ground, every day in the trenches. We’re giving our hard earned money, blood, sweat and tears to make a difference in the lives of young people…to advance our community. Many of the volunteers, like me…work long hours with NO pay. It’s a labor of love.
While Bezos gets richer by the minute, our foundation is just simply trying to make college education affordable, equitable, to young black males. Those quarterly AmazonSmile checks aren’t enough money to put fuel in Bezos private jets, or to pay for his space rocket adventures, but it makes the world of difference in the lives of people we serve.
As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once stated “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”
Amazon….what are you doing for others?