Jan 19, 2023 - Economy

Amazon discontinues AmazonSmile program after giving away $377 million

A boy in a red shirt stands in front a pile of Amazon boxes

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital released this photo in November to promote the fact that it had received $15 million in donations through the AmazonSmile program, which is being discontinued. Photo: Courtesy of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Amazon is discontinuing its AmazonSmile program, which directed 0.5% of sales on certain purchases to customer's preferred nonprofits throughout the world.

Driving the news: The company told customers in an email that the initiative "has not grown to create the impact that we had originally hoped" and that with more than 1 million organizations eligible for funding, "our ability to have an impact was often spread too thin."

By the numbers: AmazonSmile directed more than $377 million to nonprofits since it launched in 2013, including humanitarian efforts, animal welfare groups, school organizations and hospitals.

  • The top recipient was said to be St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, which announced in November that it had become the first nonprofit to receive $15 million from AmazonSmile.

What others are saying: AmazonSmile fund recipients and Amazon critics questioned the reasoning behind the decision.

  • The program had a "measurable impact on my organization over the last 7 years," tweeted Lauren Wagner, executive director of the Long Island Arts Alliance. "More importantly, it has allowed patrons to support our organization in an accessible way. Disappointed, to say the least."
  • Numerous people encouraged Amazon users to instead donate directly to nonprofits and spend money with small businesses.

What Amazon is saying: "The company, which ranks among the top corporate philanthropists in the U.S., will continue to pursue and invest in other areas where it can make meaningful change," it said in a statement.

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