Back in 2013, Amazon launched the AmazonSmile program. This program allowed shoppers to select charities where 0.5 percent of their purchase will be donated to. Customers can choose from over a million charities globally. Although the percentage may seem small, with the large amount of Amazon shoppers, this program has generated roughly $450 million since its initial launch. On Jan. 18, Amazon announced that AmazonSmile would be discontinued on Feb. 20. The company explained that AmazonSmile has had the big impact they had hoped for, and they therefore will be discontinuing the program.
Many are disheartened to hear this news, especially the charities. Many charities have expressed that they feel caught off guard with Amazon’s decision and wished that they had been warned earlier instead of reading about it in the news. Additionally, charities feel hurt that the benefits the program has provided is not enough for Amazon. Tenisha Taylor, founder of the Ezekiel Taylor Scholarship Foundation, which helps Black men affected by gun violence attain higher education, said in response, “You haven’t seen my bottom line of impact of these brilliant young men that I have walking on campuses across this country.”
The ending of this program may seem to come out of nowhere, but looking at other aspects of the company, this decision makes sense. Apart from their reason that their “ability to have an impact was often spread too thin,” Amazon appears to be preparing for a recession. Amazon started the new year with 18,000 people laid off, including 6 percent of corporate employees. These layoffs are on top of the ones from last year.
When the program ends, the charities will receive a one-time final donation equivalent to three months of their earnings in 2022. Amazon has been ranked one of the top corporate philanthropists in the U.S. and plans to continue doing charitable work. They plan on moving efforts to their different programs, ranging from computer science education to helping the hungry. These programs include Amazon Future Engineer, Community Delivery, Amazon Disaster Relief, investment in the community and Amazon Housing Equity Fund, which has increased affordable housing in Bellevue by at least 20 percent.