Main menu

Pages

Amazon Ending AmazonSmile Charitable Giving Program: NPR

featured image


An Amazon fulfillment center is seen before sunrise on March 29, 2021, in Bessemer, Alabama. Amazon has announced that it is ending its charitable donation program, AmazonSmile.

Patrick T. Fallon for AFP via Getty Images


hide caption

toggle subtitle

Patrick T. Fallon for AFP via Getty Images


An Amazon fulfillment center is seen before sunrise on March 29, 2021, in Bessemer, Alabama. Amazon has announced that it is ending its charitable donation program, AmazonSmile.

Patrick T. Fallon for AFP via Getty Images

Amazon is ending its charitable giving program through Feb. 20, the company announced on Wednesday. The move to close AmazonSmile comes after a series of other cost-cutting measures.

Through the program, which has been in operation since 2013, Amazon donates 0.5% of eligible purchases to a charity of the buyer’s choice. The program has donated more than $400 million to US charities and more than $449 million globally, according to Amazon.

“With so many qualified organizations – more than a million worldwide – our ability to make an impact used to be in very short supply,” Amazon said in a letter to customers.

In 2022, the average AmazonSmile donation per charity was $230 in the United States, an Amazon spokesperson told NPR via email.

However, some organizations – especially small ones – say that the donations have been incredibly helpful to them. And many shoppers using AmazonSmile have expressed their dismay on social media and shared the impact the program has had on the charities they support.

The Squirrelwood Equine Sanctuary, an animal sanctuary in New York’s Hudson Valley that is home to more than 40 horses and other farm animals, tweeted that the nearly $9,400 he received from Amazon Smile “made a big difference to us.”

Beth Hyman, executive director of the sanctuary, says the organization reliably brings in a few thousand dollars a quarter. While it’s a relatively small amount of the overall budget, “that could feed an animal for a year,” says Hyman. “That’s a life at stake,” she adds, which the sanctuary may not be able to sustain going forward.

Hyman says that Amazon hardly gave notice that AmazonSmile was going to end, and that Amazon made it difficult for the program to succeed because it “hid it behind another URL and never integrated it into its mobile apps.”

Central Texas Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), an organization that trains volunteers to advocate for children in the child welfare system in four counties between Austin and San Antonio, was another non-profit organization that AmazonSmile shoppers could support .

Eloise Hudson, group communications manager, says that while CASA is a national organization, it is divided into local and individual nonprofits that work and seek funding at the grassroots level. AmazonSmile has empowered people by supporting a small charity, she says, and “it won’t exist anymore.”

Amazon said it will help charities transition by “providing them a one-time donation equivalent to three months of what they earned in 2022 through the program” and allowing them to continue receiving donations until the official end of the program in February.

After that, shoppers can still support charities by purchasing items from their wish lists, the company said, adding that it will continue to support other programs such as affordable housing programs, food banks and disaster relief.

Amazon had previously announced its Housing Equity Fund to invest in affordable housing, focused on areas where its headquarters have disrupted housing markets. Some of the programs listed in the ad are internal to Amazon.

In early January, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy announced 18,000 layoffs, the most in company history and the most job cuts at a tech company since the industry slump that began last year.

Comments