Amazon is ending its long-running charitable giving program AmazonSmile, saying that after a decade in operation it has not created “the impact that we had originally hoped.” Instead, the company said it plans to pursue and invest in “other areas where we’ve seen we can make meaningful change.”
The news was announced to Amazon customers via email and in a blog post on Jan. 18, 2022. Amazon intends to wind down all AmazonSmile operations by Feb. 20, 2023.
Launched in 2013, the program allowed charities to list themselves as donation recipients. Shoppers could then select the charity they wanted to support, with 0.5% of all their eligible purchases going to their designated charity. The core problem appears to have been the sheer number of eligible charities that participated — more than 1 million globally, according to Amazon. The result was that “our ability to have an impact was often spread too thin,” explained the company.
AmazonSmile participating charities will be able to accrue additional donations until the program officially closes in February, and once the program is ended charities will still be able to seek support from Amazon customers by creating wish lists for donations. To help AmazonSmile charities with the transition, Amazon will provide a one-time donation equivalent to three months of what they had earned through AmazonSmile in 2022.
Moving forward, Amazon will focus its efforts on a number of other existing programs, including:
- The Housing Equity Fund — a $2 billion investment in building and preserving affordable housing in the company’s hometown communities, including Bellevue, Wash. and Arlington, Va. Over the past two years, the initiative has provided funding to create more than 14,000 affordable homes, and Amazon said it expects to build at least 6,000 more in the coming months.
- Amazon Future Engineer, which has funded computer science curricula for more than 600,000 students across over 5,000 schools in underserved communities. The company plans to reach an additional 1 million students this year. Through the same program, Amazon also has provided warm clothes for the winter, food and school supplies to 55,000 students in its hometown communities.
- The Community Delivery Program — a partnership with food banks in 35 U.S. cities to deliver more than 23 million meals. Amazon said it plans to deliver 12 million more meals this year through the program. In addition to delivery services, the program also has donated 30 million meals in communities across the country.
- Amazon Disaster Relief, which uses the company’s logistics capabilities, inventory and cloud technology to provide fast aid to communities affected by natural disasters. A Disaster Relief Hub in Atlanta has more than 1 million relief items ready for deployment, and the company’s Disaster Relief team has so far responded to more than 95 natural disasters.
- Community Giving: Support for hundreds of local nonprofits in cities where Amazon’s employees and their families live, encompassing everything from youth sport leagues to local community colleges to shelters for families experiencing homelessness.