Charities lose thousands of donations as Amazon shuts down the AmazonSmile program

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Local charities that counted on Amazon’s giving program are reeling after learning the company is shutting it down.

Through AmazonSmile, the company donated a percentage of customer purchases to a charity of their choice.

This week, charities learned of the disappointing news.

“This is a really tough loss for us,” said Amy Jo Zeitz, a volunteer with Florida English Bulldog Rescue.

“A lot of bulldogs get into trouble because they’re not the healthiest breed,” said Zeitz, who is now caring for a 6-year-old bulldog named Bentley, after he came to the rescue with various health issues and recently underwent surgery. . .

“It is a total ear ablation surgery. That was over $3,000. That’s just a bulldog. We can help 50 to 100 bulldogs a year,” Zeitz said.

FEBR relies solely on private donations.

“It’s really sad because that has helped us a lot,” Zeitz said.

This week, Amazon sent the following email to customers:

“Dear Customer,

In 2013, we launched AmazonSmile to make it easy for customers to support their favorite charities. However, after nearly a decade, the program has not grown to create the impact we originally hoped for. With so many eligible organizations, more than 1 million worldwide, our ability to make an impact has often been greatly diluted.

We are writing to let you know that we plan to close AmazonSmile by February 20, 2023. We will continue to pursue and invest in other areas where we have seen we can make a meaningful difference, from building affordable housing to providing computer access. science education for students in underserved communities to use our logistical infrastructure and technology to help large communities affected by natural disasters.

To help charities that have been part of the AmazonSmile program with this transition, we will provide them with a one-time donation equal to three months of what they earned in 2022 through the program, and they will also be able to accumulate additional funds. donations until the program officially closes in February. Once AmazonSmile closes, charities will still be able to seek support from Amazon customers by creating their own wish lists.”

In a statement sent to News Channel 8, Amazon said: “The company, which is among the top corporate philanthropists in the US, will continue to pursue and invest in other areas where it can make a difference, from building affordable housing to provide access to computer science education for students in underserved communities.”

“Since we started AmazonSmile, we’ve gotten like $12,000 from them, and quarterly it’s like $1,000. This is a really unfortunate time due to inflation. Our vet bills are going up, food is going up, and just their basic care.”

Local charities that were counting on Amazon donations, like FEBR, will have to find other funds and hopefully fill the gap.

“Hopefully, maybe in the future, they will change their minds. I mean this is affecting so many rescues and groups,” Zeitz said.

According to Amazon, charities will still be able to receive physical donations if customers purchase them through the Amazon Wish List program.

For more information, read here.

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