Amazon has announced its decision to discontinue its charitable donation program, known as AmazonSmile, as part of the company’s larger cost-saving initiatives. The program, which has been in operation since 2013, allowed shoppers to donate a percentage of their eligible purchases on the e-retail site to their chosen charity organization. To date, Amazon has donated over $377 million globally through the program. However, due to the program’s limited impact and the overwhelming number of eligible organizations, the company has decided to phase out AmazonSmile by February 20th.
In a statement, Amazon emphasized its continued commitment to making a meaningful impact through investments in areas such as natural disaster relief, affordable housing, and community assistance programs. The decision to discontinue AmazonSmile comes as CEO Andy Jassy conducts a comprehensive review of the company’s expenses, amid a challenging economic climate and declining growth in the retail sector.
As part of this review, Amazon has implemented significant layoffs and a hiring freeze across its corporate workforce. Additionally, the company has halted warehouse expansion and closed down various experimental projects, such as its telehealth service and a video-calling device for children.
Amazon has said that it will continue to support various programs that aid charities and communities across the United States, even as it discontinues. These programs include:
- The Housing Equity Fund, which invests $2 billion to construct and maintain affordable housing in local communities. To date, the fund has provided funding for the creation of over 14,000 affordable homes and is on track to build an additional 6,000 homes in the near future. These homes will provide housing for over 18,000 moderate- to low-income families, many of them with children. In just one year, the fund’s investments have increased the affordable housing stock in communities such as Bellevue, Washington, and Arlington, Virginia, by at least 20%.
- Amazon Future Engineer, which funds computer science curriculum for over 600,000 students across 5,000 schools in underserved communities. The program aims to reach an additional 1 million students this year. Additionally, the program has provided immediate assistance to 55,000 students in local communities through donations of warm clothing, food, and school supplies.
- The Community Delivery Program, which partners with food banks in 35 U.S. cities to deliver over 23 million meals to families in need, using Amazon’s logistics infrastructure. The program plans to deliver an additional 12 million meals this year and has also donated 30 million meals in communities across the country.
- Amazon Disaster Relief, which utilizes Amazon’s logistics capabilities, inventory, and cloud technology to provide fast aid to communities affected by natural disasters. The program has created a Disaster Relief Hub in Atlanta with over 1 million relief items ready for deployment, responded to over 95 natural disasters and donated over 20 million relief products to nonprofits assisting affected communities.
- Community Giving, which supports hundreds of local nonprofits working to strengthen communities in cities where Amazon employees and their families live. Each year, Amazon donates hundreds of millions of dollars to organizations working on issues such as youth sports, local community colleges, and shelters for families experiencing homelessness.