Amazon to close charitable program AmazonSmile

Business

FILE – The Amazon logo is displayed at a news conference in New York on Sept. 28, 2011. Amazon is pausing hiring for its corporate workforce as the company moves to cut costs amid worries about the economic environment. Beth Galetti, the senior vice president of people experience and technology, said in a memo Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, that company executives decided this week to halt “new incremental hires” for the entire corporate workforce. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

(NEXSTAR) – Amazon will be closing its charity program, AmazonSmile, in the coming weeks in order to “focus its philanthropic giving to programs with greater impact.”

In a letter sent to AmazonSmile customers Wednesday, Amazon explained the program “has not grown to create the impact that we had originally hoped.”

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

AmazonSmile was launched in 2013. Through the program, Amazon would donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the shopper’s charitable organization of their choice. According to AmazonSmile’s website, over 1 million charities have benefited from the program.

A spokesperson tells Nexstar those charities have received $500 million with the average annual donation being less than $230.

Amazon now plans to “wind down” AmazonSmile by February 20, 2023.

“We will continue to pursue and invest in other areas where we’ve seen we can make meaningful change—from building affordable housing to providing access to computer science education for students in underserved communities to using our logistics infrastructure and technology to assist broad communities impacted by natural disasters,” the company said.

Those charities that will be impacted by AmazonSmile coming to an end will receive a one-time donation worth three months of what they received in 2022, Amazon explained. Charities will still be able to receive donations until the program officially ends.

After AmazonSmile ends, Amazon said charities can still create wish lists that customers can shop to support the organization.

The announcement comes as Amazon has begun its largest round of layoffs, impacting roughly 18,000 employees.

“Amazon has weathered uncertain and difficult economies in the past, and we will continue to do so,” CEO Andy Jassy said in a message to employees earlier this month. “These changes will help us pursue our long-term opportunities with a stronger cost structure.”

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