You might be wondering, what is Archewell Foundation? Since the start of 2020, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry have been quietly working on the launch of their new nonprofit organization, Archewell. The charitable initiative comes after the couple stepped away as working senior royals for the British royal family, a move that ultimately saw the denouement of Sussex Royal.
According to the Telegraph, Archewell is an umbrella organisation which plans to include emotional support groups, a multi-media educational network, a wellbeing website and their own charity and volunteer outreach programme.
The couple said in a statement they want ‘to do something of meaning, to do something that matters’.
No official launch date was initially given for the organization while the couple focussed on efforts to support people during the current, unprecedented coronavirus pandemic. At the time of announcing the organization, the pair said they would launch Archewell ‘when the time is right’.
‘Faced with this information coming to light, we felt compelled to share the story of how this came to be,’ they told the newspaper.
The couple later launched the Archewell website in October 2020. The website’s landing page featured the organisation’s name broken down phonetically. Visitors were also given the option to subscribe to emails from the organisation and learn more about its plans in the months to come.
Ahead of the couple’s televised interview with Oprah Winfrey, the pair updated their organisation’s website with a new logo and message that reads: ‘Welcome to Archewell. Through our non-profit work, as well as creative activations, we drive systemic cultural change across all communities, one act of compassion at a time.’
The chic logo features a grey ‘A’ on top of a ‘W’ and is circled by the words ‘community, service, action, compassion’ in gold colour.
“Like you, our focus is on supporting efforts to tackle the global COVID-19 pandemic but faced with this information coming to light, we felt compelled to share the story of how this came to be,” the couple said in a statement at the time.
Meghan and Harry revealed in a statement that the Archewell Foundation’s name took inspiration from their son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
“Before SussexRoyal, came the idea of ‘Arche’—the Greek word meaning ‘source of action.’ We connected to this concept for the charitable organization we hoped to build one day, and it became the inspiration for our son’s name,” read the statement. “To do something of meaning, to do something that matters. Archewell is a name that combines an ancient word for strength and action, and another that evokes the deep resources we each must draw upon.”
Why was the launch postponed?
With the outbreak of COVID-19 and an international resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, Harry and Meghan decided to temporarily postpone the launch of Archewell Foundation to redirect their efforts to those two causes, as reported by The Telegraphin June 2020.
“I am my mother’s son, and I am our son’s mother,” the letter for 2021 read. “Together we bring you Archewell. We believe in the best of humanity. Because we have seen the best of humanity … From our mothers and strangers alike.”
What will the organization do?
According to the Archewell website, the foundation’s “core purpose is to uplift and unite communities—local and global, online and offline—one act of compassion at a time. We believe that compassion is the defining cultural force of the 21st century, and through the work of our 501(c)(3), we support a growing community of partner organizations fueling systemic cultural change.”
The website lists forthcoming projects and partnerships with the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, the Center for Humane Technology, the Loveland Foundation, the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry, and the World Central Kitchen.
Dr. Safiya Noble, the co-director of the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry, commended the Sussexes for working to expose and dismantle the issues of racial inequality.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are deeply committed to using their light to illuminate the problems of inequality and structural racism,” the author and UCLA professor says in a statement shared with BAZAAR.com. “We have a shared commitment and sense of urgency in making a more compassionate world, much of which is undermined by Internet platforms. I know what they stand for, share in their mission. We look forward to lending our research expertise and networks to our mutual work on the most pressing issues of Internet policy and culture that are accelerating racial, gender, and economic inequity.”
The duke and duchess will also head Archewell Audio, an audio-first production company that has teamed with Spotify “to spotlight diverse perspectives and voices” through podcasts. The Sussexes have also created Archewell Productions, which will produce, in collaboration with Netflix, “programming that informs, elevates, and inspires.”
Who works for Archewell Foundation?
Last November, Peoplereported that the Sussexes recruited Christine Schirmer, the former head of communications at Pinterest and former corporate communications manager at Apple, for Archewell’s publicity team.
Other team members include James Holt, the couple’s communications lead in the United Kingdom, and Toya Holness, who led communications at the New York City Department of Education, as the Sussexes press secretary. PR agency Sunshine Sachs will work with Schirmer, Holt, and Holness as they oversee Meghan and Harry’s ventures in Archewell Foundation and beyond.