Amazon is closing down its AmazonSmile program, a way consumers can donate a portion of the cost of their purchase to a charity.
The company announced the move recently along with 18,000 layoffs.
Through AmazonSmile, charities received .5% of purchases. That equaled about $500 million over the past 10 years in the U.S., U.K. and Germany. But while the amount seems large overall, Amazon said the donations were spread too thin to have an impact, with the average donation going to a single group amounting to $230, Bloomberg reported.
With the closure of Smile, Amazon said in a blog post on Wednesday that it will provide a one-time donation to the charities equal to three months of what they earned last year. They can also continue to collect donations through the end of the program. After next month, charities will still be able to compile wish lists that Amazon customers can support.
About 1 million charities signed up for AmazonSmile which will close on Feb. 20.
After the program’s demise, Amazon said it “will continue to pursue and invest in other areas where we’ve 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 assist broad communities impacted by natural disasters.”
Amazon said it will give $2 billion to the Housing Equity Fund to build and preserve affordable housing.
It has also helped 600,000 students at 5,000 schools thrive in computer science curriculums through its Future Engineer program.
Amazon plans to deliver millions of meals through its Community Delivery Program to prove families in need have access to healthy food and will continue to support areas that are hit by natural disasters through its Disaster Relief program. Amazon opened a hub in Atlanta that has more than 1 million relief items ready to be sent to areas in need.
Earlier this month, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy announced the plan to lay off more than 18,000 employees “between the reductions we made in November and the ones we’re sharing today,” USA Today reported.
Additional layoff notice emails started being sent to workers on Wednesday, the same day Microsoft announced 10,000 layoffs, according to USA Today. The company also issued a hiring freeze at the corporate offices and put warehouse expansion plans on hold, CNBC reported.
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