RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Amazon Smile became the latest victim of the company’s cost-cutting measures. Upon a budget review, Amazon opted to shut down the charity program, a decision that will impact many Richmond-based nonprofits enrolled in the program.
Lacette Cross is the Executive Director of Richmond nonprofit Diversity Richmond, which works to provide resources, education, inclusivity to support members of Richmond’s LGBTQIA+ community and their families. Diversity Richmond is a part of Amazon Smile.
Cross shared that organizations often rely on community donations to continue functioning, which will be negatively impacted by the end of Amazon Smile.
“Every nickel, dime, quarter, dollar adds up,” she explained. “I was mostly shocked and then disappointed.”
Amazon Smile began in 2013. It allows customers to choose for a portion of their purchase to go towards an organization of their choice. However, Amazon announced in a letter to customers that due to the high volume of participating organizations, its ability to make a tangible impact was “spread too thin.”
Despite the company believing the efforts were too minimal to warrant its continuation, local organizations tell 8News, every bit of aid helps.
“It was one of the ways our supporters could passively support us while doing their everyday thing, which is shopping on Amazon,” Cross said.
It is estimated that more than 100 organizations across Central Virginia participate in Amazon Smile and receive some form of assistance through its existence. There are still ways to support your favorite organizations, but Cross noted, it’s always disappointing to see nonprofits lose help.
“That amount we’ve been able to raise from Amazon Smile is one of the many dollars that go into our pot to help the community,” Cross said.
In an effort to soften the blow, Amazon is providing participating organizations with a one-time donation equal to what each organization earned through the program during a three month period last year. Until Feb. 20, when Amazon officially shuts down the Amazon Smile program, organizations can still accrue donations.
For more information on Diversity Richmond, visit them online.