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Amazon Cuts AmazonSmile, Angering Nonprofits and Customers

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When Laura Hogue, who works at an animal fostering non-profit in Louisville, Kentucky, read the email about AmazonSmile discontinuing, she was “offended.”

“The program has not grown to create the impact that we had originally hoped,” Amazon wrote in a Wednesday email that announced the cancellation of the program, which will begin on February 20.

“With so many eligible organizations—more than 1 million globally—our ability to have an impact was often spread too thin,” the email added.

Hogue, a full-time paralegal, also works as the (unpaid) treasurer and director for Pit Bulls of St Francis (PBSF) Dog Rescue in Louisville, Kentucky. While PBSF does not have a physical facility, it connects dogs at risk of euthanization to foster homes.

Hogue tells Entrepreneur that PBSF brought in about $600 from AmazonSmile last year. “You could say that’s not really a lot of money,” she said. “But that $600, for us, saves one or two dogs, and to me, that’s a significant impact.”

AmazonSmile donates 0.5% of eligible purchases made on smile.amazon.com to a charitable organization of the shopper’s choice. Nonprofits would also encourage supporters to choose their organization while using AmazonSmile.

Hogue said the email “made us feel diminutive.”

“I just felt was really insulting for them to say they don’t feel like they’re making enough impact,” she added.

AmazonSmile began in 2013, and the company said Thursday more than $500 million has been donated to charities since it launched. It has also faced public relations issues with the program, like when it had to remove militia groups from the platform in 2021.

Amazon likely axed the program as part of an ongoing effort to reduce costs. The company began layoffs Wednesday expected to impact some 18,000 people, the largest in all of its company history.

Related: ‘Important Information About Your Role’: Amazon Delivers News of Layoffs via Email

In its Wednesday statement, Amazon said it would give charities that have used AmazonSmile a donation “equivalent to three months of what they earned in 2022 through the program,” and highlighted other charitable initiatives it would continue to support.

Amazon pointed to its statement in response to a request for comment, which says the company plans to invest $2 billion in “affordable housing” in the cities where it operates, for example, and that removing this program would help it focus on other philanthropy.

Still, several nonprofits across the country are expressing shock and anger at Amazon for abruptly discontinuing the program late Wednesday.

Another animal-related nonprofit, a sanctuary in New York called Crouton & Friends, Tweeted that the donations (it’s unclear what the timeline was) “meant the world.”

“I’m so sad to see the donations go,” Genna Nessel, wrote in a Facebook group connected to The Amputee Connection of Redlands, a California nonprofit that supports people who have experienced the loss of a limb.

“NO, NO, NO!!!!!! You do not realize HOW VERY MUCH Amazon Smile has helped us small non-profits!!,” Facebook user Barbara Weber Seaman wrote, who appears to be one of the founders of Felines Under Rescue nonprofit in Alabama.

Customers seemed to be frustrated, too. One user wrote on Amazon’s public Facebook page, “every bit helped our local charities. Shame.”

Eli Coen, CEO of Lero, an e-commerce consultancy, told Entrepreneur via text: “Amazon got greedy.”

Hogue also says she used Amazon to shop for supplies or dog food, even when it was a bit more expensive because she liked how they gave back with Smile. But now she plans to cancel her regular Amazon biweekly order for her dog food on her personal account — and sign up for one with Chewy, an online pet retailer. (Several users have commented on the company’s most recent Facebook post that they will cancel services like Amazon Prime.)

PBSF also has an Amazon wishlist.

“Now I think I might just cut that out.. and ask people to send us gift cards,” she said.

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Entrepreneurship

3 Ways to Boost Confidence

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“As a business owner, you’re going to face all sorts of challenges,” says business development consultant and Entrepreneur magazine writer Terry Rice. “But a lack of confidence will tank your chances of success faster than any real obstacle.”

So how do you shake off imposter syndrome when you’re attempting something new? Here are three ways to boost your confidence.

1. Realize confidence comes from past experiences, not pep talks. You don’t need motivational posters to remind yourself about what you can do. Jot down ten challenges that you’ve already won. Keep this list handy to remind yourself of what you’ve already accomplished and why you can take on new challenges.

2. Stop worrying about other people’s opinions. Most people are either rooting for you or ignoring you, so just focus on getting 1% better every day.

3. Learn to see failure as data. Think of every project, pitch, or sales call as an experiment. You’re testing something out, and if it works, great. If not, you’ve learned something and can improve your approach going forward.

Related: 60-Second Tip on Getting More Productive

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Layoffs Abound, But These Major Companies Are Still Hiring

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This year started off with massive layoffs — from Big Tech to real estate and beyond.

But it’s not all bad news.

Though many industries continue to brace for more job cuts, some of the most well-known companies are still hiring, per Insider.

Related: These Are the 2 Reasons Apple Has Avoided Mass Layoffs So Far

Economists remain optimistic about the 2023 job market, CNBC reported, noting that blue-collar workers may have more job security than white-collar employees. ZipRecruiter chief economist Julia Pollak told CNBC that despite headlines about mass layoffs, many companies “are starved for talent and leaving money on the table because they can’t run at full capacity.”

Related: Layoffs Affecting 1,600 Tech Workers a Day on Average in 2023

See Insider’s full list of hiring companies and the number of jobs they’re looking to fill below.

Chipotle: 15,000 jobs

Boeing: 10,000 jobs

United Airlines: 2,500 jobs

Airbus: 13,000 jobs

Alaska Airlines: 3,500 jobs

Bloomberg: 1,000 jobs

Moderna: 2,000 jobs

Palantir Technologies: A few hundred jobs

Binance: 15%-30% workforce increase

Hudson Tunnel Project: 72,000 jobs

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6 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month beyond February

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Celebrating Black History Month is a great way to honor the significant contributions African Americans have made throughout history. However, to create a truly equitable workplace and ensure that our employees feel seen, heard and valued daily, it’s essential to recognize Black history as an integral part of American history throughout the year.

Research shows that workplace diversity positively impacts employee engagement and productivity. In other words, creating an environment of inclusivity for all employees isn’t just the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense. An authentic celebration of Black heritage throughout the year can help companies foster understanding and empathy among coworkers from different backgrounds. Such a celebration also allows employees to learn more about their colleagues’ experiences, promoting a deeper sense of community and understanding.

Related: It’s Black History Month. Here’s How to Show Black Employees You Care.

By recognizing Black history all year long, companies can show their employees they care while demonstrating a commitment to creating an environment where everyone feels seen, heard, valued and respected. Celebrating Black culture is one way to ensure all employees feel included in the workplace, no matter what month it is.

Here are six ways to be a better ally and celebrate Black History Month beyond February:

1. Celebrate authentic Black history and culture

Make sure that all employees have access to accurate and current information about the African-American experience and contributions throughout history. Encourage employees to learn more about the accomplishments of African Americans in a variety of fields — from science and engineering to art, music and literature.

How to implement it: Provide employees with a list of books, movies and articles by African Americans that tell the stories of African Americans throughout history. As opposed to non-African Americans telling the stories about African Americans (which has been the norm for too long).

Related: Be Intentional About Diversity

2. Plan authentic events

Celebrate Black History Month by planning events that make meaningful connections to the African-American experience. Invite guest speakers to share their unique perspectives on Black success stories and create opportunities for employees to engage in dialogue about important topics such as race, identity and inclusion.

How to implement it: Engage in an open dialogue with employees about the types of events they would like to participate in, such as movie screenings, group discussions and panel talks. Use their input to plan engaging activities focusing on Black culture and history.

Related: Here’s the No. 1 Question White Leaders Ask Me About Black History Month

3. Show authentic support

Show employees that their contributions are seen and valued by celebrating their success throughout the year. From recognition awards to career advancement opportunities, ensure you’re actively engaging with all of your employees so they know their work is appreciated.

How to implement it: Highlight employee achievements in company newsletters and recognize them at team meetings. These small gestures can go a long way in making your workplace more inclusive for everyone!

4. Host educational events

Consider hosting educational events such as lectures, workshops and brown bag lunches that focus on learning more about the roots of Black history in America. Provide professional development resources and opportunities for employees to engage in meaningful conversations around race, culture, and inclusion.

How to implement it: Invite experts in the fields of African American studies or Civil Rights to speak to employees about the history and legacy of Black people in America.

5. Incorporate inclusive resources into training

Include inclusive language, images, historical facts, etc., into all existing workplace diversity curriculums and training materials. Such a universal approach will help employees become more aware of the impact that race, gender and ethnicity have on daily workplace interactions.

How to implement it: Incorporate examples from Black history into existing diversity training materials such as videos, readings, and case studies. Ask employees for feedback about which resources would be most useful for learning more about Black history and culture.

6. Develop authentic mentorship programs

Invest in mentorship programs focusing on developing collaborations between African American employees and their colleagues of other ethnic backgrounds. Establish safe spaces where everyone can share their experiences openly and without judgment.

How to implement it: Create an inclusive environment through team-building exercises, cross-cultural conversations and networking events. Facilitate dialogue among employees of different backgrounds and encourage them to share their insights and ideas.

Celebrating Black History Month is an important way to remind everyone of the contributions African Americans have made to our society over the last several hundred years. Yet it’s also important that we recognize these achievements throughout the year in the workplace. By incorporating authentic resources into the workplace, employers can create a more inclusive atmosphere for all employees — no matter what month it is.

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