AmazonSmile's Shutdown Rattles U.S. Non-Profits
Amazon’s surprise decision to shut down its AmazonSmile donation program has left thousands of its nonprofit beneficiaries disappointed and concerned about finding ways to replace the funding, Thalia Beaty and Glenn Gamboa reported for the Associated Press (AP).
Photo Insert: AmazonSmile was launched in 2013, contributing 0.5% of every purchase made by participating customers to the charity of their choosing.
The e-commerce giant launched AmazonSmile in 2013, contributing 0.5% of every purchase made by participating customers to the charity of their choosing. As of 2022, the company said it has donated $449 million to various charities.
Before it ends the program next month, Amazon says, it will provide a final donation to each of the 1 million-plus nonprofits that used AmazonSmile, equivalent to 25% of what the charity received from the program in 2022.
Some of the e-commerce giant’s competitors, including Walmart and Target, have their own community donation programs that somewhat resemble AmazonSmile. But nonprofits say they feel let down.
Amazon’s decision to end the program was part of a strategic shift to support initiatives that work on a larger scale, like its $2 billion contribution to building affordable housing, said Patrick Malone, a company spokesperson.
After 10 years, he said, it was time to reevaluate the program. He said the move is not a criticism of the nonprofits it supported.
Tenisha Taylor says she felt Amazon insulted her Chicago nonprofit’s work by saying its program hadn’t provided enough of an impact for its charitable beneficiaries.
“You haven’t talked to me,” said Taylor, who founded the Ezekiel Taylor Foundation, which provides scholarships to young Black men from Chicago whose lives have been affected by gun violence.
“You haven’t seen my bottom line of impact of these brilliant young men that I have walking on campuses across this country.” Taylor noted the huge disparity between the wealth of Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, and the small amounts that nonprofits use to try to make their communities healthier and safer.