Harry and Meghan supporters defend Archewell foundation after critics ask where $10m has gone

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s supporters have defended the couple’s Archewell Foundation after critics asked for further insight into the organisation’s funds.

On Sunday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s charitable foundation released its 2020-2022 Impact Report, in which it detailed the money raised since the organisation was founded in 2020.

According to the 24-page report, the Archewell Foundation has raised and given away millions to charitable causes such as those that support vaccine equity and refugee resettlement.

“Since its founding in 2020 by Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the Archewell Foundation has built a growing body of work rooted in the philosophy of compassion, connection, and care. With the leadership of the duke and duchess, we have cultivated strong strategic partnerships with leading organisations, invested millions of dollars across the non-profit space for sustainable programs and campaigns, and designed a strategy centered on large and lasting community impact,” an introduction to the report written by James Holt and Shauna Nep, co-executive directors of The Archewell Foundation, states.

It continues: “The results of their work are undeniable, both through metrics that can be seen and an emotional impact that can be felt. Baked into all that we do is the core belief that our collective wellbeing and mental health are paramount.Our initiatives between 2020-2022 have included investments in: vaccine equity, global relief centres, refugee resettlement, the care of families and communities in need, and the reshaping of our online world with the support of groundbreaking leaders in this space.”

On Twitter, royal reporter Omid Scobie shared a link to the report and noted that, “in their first year of operation they raised $13m and distributed $3m in grants across areas including vaccine equity, relief centres, refugee resettlement, and building better online world”.

In a follow-up tweet, Scobie noted that the figures come from “media brieing notes” sent out by Archewell to journalists.

Despite a breakdown of the organisation’s impact “by the numbers,” which does not include the figures referenced by Scobie, some critics have questioned where the remaining $10m the foundation raised has gone.

“Wait, they raised $13m and only gave out $3m?” one person asked, while another said: “Okay - where’s the other $10m?”

“They ‘raised’ $13m and gave away $3m. My word, what is the rest going to being used for? Clothing and hotel allowance?” someone else asked.

The criticisms have prompted many to step in to defend the couple, and their charitable organisation.

Royal reporter RS Locke, who goes by the username @royal_suitor on Twitter, tweeted a comparison between The Archewell Foundation’s first year and the funds raised by The Royal Foundation, the foundation initially created by Prince Harry and his brother Prince William in 2011. The tweet says that the charity, which now supports William and his wife Kate Middleton, the Prince and Princess of Wales, saw £4.8m in incoming resources in 2011 and gave £1.3m in grants.

“Any resources not expended are carried over in reserve,” Locke explained, before adding in a follow-up tweet that “it’s not a competition” and that he used the example “because some people didn’t understand that startup foundations don’t distribute all of the incoming resources because they need to build a reserve”.

“Another foundation that Prince Harry was responsible for co-founding seemed relevant,” he added.

The tweet prompted agreement from fans of the Sussexes, with one person writing: “It’s people thinking all money raised has to be spent as soon as they get it. I hate that this needed to be explained, like we’re talking to kids, but here we are. This is for those feigning ignorance.”

Another said: “Great example here. Yes, it’s extremely important that newly established foundations like Archewell build a reserve (cushion) from raised funds.This reserve is what helps them to be more viable.”

“For those in the back, when you raise money you don’t have to give it all away within a year. Archewell is a startup that’s been around for less than three years and has already done soooo much,” someone else pointed out.

The foundation’s impact report also prompted praise from supporters of the couple, with one person noting that the work Archewell has accomplished in a short amount of time is “incredible”.

“The work Archewell Foundation has accomplished within a short space of time is incredible. H&M have partnered with some amazing organisations and the impacts on communities have been enormous, especially the vaccine equity, the money raised. I can’t wait to see what they do in 2023,” they wrote.

According to Archewell’s impact report, the foundation impact by numbers includes helping in the procurement of 12.66 million Covid vaccines for the global population through a partnership with Global Citizen and 50,000 meals served through Archewell’s partnership with World Central Kitchen.

The organisation also notes that its work has meant 174,497 Afghans and Ukrainians were welcomed to the US, and 7,468 individuals were rescued from Afghanistan through Archewell’s partnership with Human First Coalition.

Archewell also referenced its work on gender equity, its dedication to addressing society’s “most urgent concerns surrounding social media,” and the creation of a play space in Uvalde, Texas, which was created “to foster community and healing” after a school shooting at Robb Elementary School left 19 students and two teachers dead.

As for the future, Archewell said in its third year it plans to focus on “three main pillars united by a vision of a world where our mental health and well-being is cared for,” which include building a better online world, restoring trust in information, and uplifting communities.

The Independent has contacted a spokesperson for the Sussexes for comment.