The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have announced a series of donations to charities related to mental health and racial equality, particularly in the press, in a move seen as an assertion of their commitment to causes they have been outspoken about in recent months.
The announcement came less than a week after their televised interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which Meghan revealed she had been suicidal during her time as a working member of the royal family and claimed she had received no mental health support from staff.
Archewell foundation, the Duke and Duchess’s organisation, announced it would be offering support to Mind, Colour of Change, the PressPad Charitable Foundation and URL Media.
Archewell said it was “aligning behind and providing new support to several key organisations that are tackling a number of today’s most-pressing global conversations”.
The PressPad Charitable Foundation works to improve diversity within the British media by “lowering the financial barrier for young people who want to become journalists”. The foundation provides “bursaries, grants, training and support” in collaboration with its sister social enterprise model PressPad, which facilitates networking, mentoring and accommodation to help young people get a foot in the door in the journalism industry. PressPad’s Olivia Crellin said the news was “totally surreal”.
“We’re grateful and thrilled to receive any funding to continue the work we’re doing,” Crellin said. “It’s fantastic to have a couple who are as high profile as they are, and of that standing, because it’s going to really help us spread the word about the work we’re doing and the values we have, of improving social mobility and diversity in the media.”
Crellin said the organisation was approached by members of the Archewell team. She said the money would help the charity and its sister social enterprise give their team financial stability, as well as expanding its scheme by taking on apprentices through the Kickstart programme. “Every day for the last year, I’ve just been grateful I can continue to pay the team and continue to do what we do.”
With its new charity branch, PressPad hopes to be able to equip young people from underrepresented backgrounds with the “soft skills” needed to become a journalists, act as a conduit to grant money to other small organisations, and offer practical support with bursaries for accommodation and travel for young journalists on work experience.
“PressPad stands for making sure we build a bridge between those who have, with privilege and opportunities, and those who don’t yet,” she said. “There’s a lot we can learn from people who are not like us in terms of tackling the problems we face as a global society, and the donation really stood in line with that.”
UK-based mental health charity Mind was a vocal supporter of Meghan’s openness about her mental health issues during the interview, tweeting that it applauded “Meghan Markle for speaking out about her experiences of suicidal thoughts”.
“We know that opening up in this way can be really difficult, but when high-profile people talk about these experiences, it helps to break down the stigma around mental health issues,” Mind said.
Colour of Change describes itself as the US’s “largest online racial justice organisation” with more than 7 million members, who work to tackle racism in the criminal justice system, inequality in voting, and economic justice. “Their mission is centred on turning moments of injustice into movements for change, mobilising people to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America,” Archewell said.
Reiterating its support for “diverse, innovative, and trustworthy media”, Archewell said it would also be supporting URL Media, a “multi-platform network of high-performing Black and Brown media organisations”.
The organisation, whose name stands for Uplift, Respect, and Love, is only two months old, having launched in January as an “alternative to business as usual”, and said it has a “mission that community media organisations – that directly serve and reflect their audiences – can co-create a network to thrive and grow together.”