SEATTLE — Amazon announced Wednesday it is shutting down AmazonSmile, its charity donation program that allowed customers to donate a small portion of their purchases to an organization of their choosing.
The program gets the ax as the company undergoes massive layoffs and cost-cutting measures.
"After almost a decade, the program has not grown to create the impact that we had originally hoped," Amazon said in a notice sent to customers Wednesday night. "With so many eligible organizations — more than 1 million globally — our ability to have an impact was often spread too thin."
A small percentage of purchases made through AmazonSmile was donated to an eligible charity of the customer's choice. Amazon has donated about $400 million to U.S. charities since the program began in 2013.
The program will end by Feb. 20, Amazon said. Charities that were part of the program will still be able to accrue donations until then. They will also receive a one-time donation of the equivalent of three months' worth of donations when the program shuts down.
Amazon said it plans to "make meaningful change" by investing in other areas like building affordable housing and natural disaster relief.
While it's not clear if layoffs were tied to AmazonSmile's demise, Amazon is currently in the midst of cutting 18,000 positions, the largest set of layoffs in the company’s history, as the e-retail giant adjusts to a changing economic forecast.
The company has slowed its warehouse expansion plans and shuttered a number of divisions as it seeks to rein in costs, including the Amazon Care telehealth service, a children's video calling-device called Amazon Glow and the longtime online fabric store Fabric.com.