Local non-profits affected by Amazon’s decision to end charity donation program

Amazon Smile ends
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 6:56 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Some non-profits in our area are forced to brainstorm new ways to generate funding - when Amazon will end its charity donation program “Amazon Smiles” on February 20th.

The Amazon program donates half a percent from certain purchases to non-profits. One place affected by the end of the program is Rick’s Toybox Workshop, on of more than one million organizations nationwide fored to pick up the pieces. Rick Brunner, founder and president of Rick’s Toybox, explains: “Us little non-profits… every penny counts.”

Action 2 News met Rick Brunner in his workshop last year, when he was building wooden toy cars for children in the Ukraine. He says he got nearly four hundred dollars from “Amazon Smiles” annually. Enough to fund new creations and expand on his most popular projects: “I think the average consumers don’t really realize the type of impacts that this was making. We’re going to have to be more creative on how to make up for this loss.”

Amazon broke the bad news in a letter - saying they’d give non-profits one last donation worth three months of payments.

“We were a little surprised that they were getting rid of it. We have some staff members here who when they sign up for amazon make their purchases through that,” Brunner said.

Amazon also posted a note on its blog, explaining the decision: “After almost a decade, the program has not grown to create the impact that we had originally hoped. Our ability to have an impact was often spread too thin.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters of northeast Wisconsin received more than two thousand dollars from Amazon each year. Ashley Stewart, Community Engagement Manager of Big Brothers Big Sisters, maintains even a little bit of money can make a big difference for children in our area: “It would help us make matches in the community. It would help us support our matches. We’ve got about 90 kids on our waitlist right now.”

She now hopes big businesses will step up to help a non-profit they believe in. As Amazon’s donations will become a thing of the past.