Amazon Discontinues Smile Charity Program

Brittany Blackman
Jan 23, 2023

In a move that coincides with a significant amount of company-wide layoffs, Amazon has decided to end its Smile charity program. With a looming recession affecting companies of any size, the granddaddy of them all has to cut corners where they can to save some cash. The layoffs resulted in a staggering 18,000 employees without jobs.

AmazonSmile is the eCommerce giant's donation program that pumps 0.5% of the cost of all eligible products into various charities. It is a separate entity that lets you browse and buy items, just like on But Amazon would keep track of your purchases and donate the money.

Since 2013, Amazon has donated $400 million through the AmazonSmile program. Larger-sized organizations most likely received most of the donations, while smaller ones only received a few dollars yearly. The average donation to charities was less than $230

To partially mitigate the drop in funds, charities participating in the AmazonSmile program will receive a one-time donation from Amazon that equals roughly three months' worth of donations.

TechCrunch notes that the end of the program will affect Amazon's entire ethos in two ways. First, the company no longer has to set aside 0.5% on various purchases made on AmazonSmile. The other caveat is that an entirely separate team of employees was working for the program.

Shutting down AmazonSmile means the company can lay off some (or most) people working within the program. A financial win for the company but an ethical shortcoming otherwise. Not to mention, many relationships that the company established with these charity programs will now be frayed.

Before the most recent layoffs, Amazon began making layoffs to its devices organization, retail division, and human resources divisions last November, laying off about 10,000 employees.

"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."

AmazonSmile will remain open until February 20, 2023.

Photo by Bryan Angelo on Unsplash

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