(NEXSTAR) – Amazon will shut down its charity program, AmazonSmile, in the coming weeks to “focus its philanthropic giving on programs with greater impact.”
In a letter sent Wednesday to AmazonSmile customers, Amazon explained that the program “has not grown to create the impact we had originally hoped for.”
“With so many eligible organizations — over 1 million globally — our ability to make an impact was often too low,” Amazon wrote.
AmazonSmile was launched in 2013. Under this program, Amazon would donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charity of its choice. According to the AmazonSmile website, over a million charities have benefited from the program.
A spokesperson told Nexstar that these charities received $500 million, with the average annual donation being less than $230.
Amazon now plans to “reduce” AmazonSmile by February 20, 2023.
“We will continue to pursue and invest in other areas where we have 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 help large communities affected by natural disasters,” the company said.
Charities that will be affected by the end of AmazonSmile 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 ended, Amazon said charities can still create wishlists that customers can purchase to support the organization.
The announcement comes as Amazon began its largest round of layoffs, affecting around 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.”