Amazon A Virtual No-Show In Hometown Philanthropy

SEATTLE — Conceived on Wall Street, born in a Bellevue, Wash., rental house, and based in a dozen buildings in downtown Seattle, Amazon has grown into one of the Internet’s most-recognized name brands.

But Amazon, which employed 1,381 in 2011 at its Breinigsville warehouse complex, cuts an astoundingly low profile in the civic life of its hometown.

It’s a minor player in charitable giving in the Seattle area. Some nonprofit officials say it can be difficult to find someone at Amazon to even talk with them. Other business leaders say they’re hard-pressed to name examples of Amazon playing a significant role on broader public issues.

And while Amazon’s logo smile appears on billions of boxes that criss-cross the globe, neither that smile nor its name can be seen on a single building at its sprawling new campus in Seattle’s South Lake Union area. The company, which turns 18 this summer, won’t even acknowledge how many employees it has in the area.

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