Amazon discontinues charity donation program amid cost cuts

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Packages move along a conveyor belt at an Amazon Fulfillment center on Cyber Monday in Robbinsville, New Jersey, on Monday, Nov. 28, 2022.
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Amazon said Wednesday it plans to shut down its charity donation program, in the latest example of the company’s broader cost-cutting efforts.

Through the program, called AmazonSmile, the e-retailer donates a percentage of eligible purchases on the site to the shopper’s chosen charity organization. Amazon said it has donated roughly $500 million to charities since the program launched in 2013.

Amazon now plans to wind down AmazonSmile by Feb. 20, the company said in a notice to customers posted to its website.

“After almost a decade, the program has not grown to create the impact that we had originally hoped,” the company said. “With so many eligible organizations — more than 1 million globally — our ability to have an impact was often spread too thin.”

The average donation to charities was less than $230, Amazon said.

Amazon will continue to invest in areas where it can “make meaningful change,” such as assisting with natural disaster relief, affordable housing initiatives and community assistance programs, the company said.

The move to shutter AmazonSmile comes as CEO Andy Jassy has embarked on a sweeping review of the company’s expenses amid a worsening economic outlook and slowing growth in its retail division.

Amazon has commenced the largest layoffs in its history and instituted a hiring freeze across its corporate workforce. As Jassy has worked to rein in costs, the company paused warehouse expansion and shuttered some experimental projects like its telehealth service and a quirky, video calling device for kids.

— CNBC’s Lora Kolodny contributed reporting to this article.

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