Prince Harry and Meghan Markle supporters raise $73K for charities

Exclusive: “We want to show our support for Harry and Meghan,” Denese Carpenter, one of the organizers, tells theGrio.

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle adhere to the creed that “service is universal.” In the spirit of that mantra, their supporters—dubbed the Sussex Squad—raised over $73K for four charities in their honor.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, parents to son Archie, 2, are expecting a daughter this summer.

Their supporters created the viral hashtags #SussexBabyShower and #Archies2ndbirthday to raise funds for charities that have been associated with the couple: Baby2Baby (provides children living in poverty with diapers, clothing, and all the basic necessities), Homeboy Industries (offers second chances to those previously incarcerated), The Loveland Foundation (committed to supporting mental health, especially for Black women) and The Mission Continues (veterans who are now serving their communities).

Prince Harry Meghan Markle
(Credit: Getty Images)

The fundraiser began on April 1 and ran through May 31 with a goal of $10K. That was exceeded within days and the final tally was $73,195.01.

Each organization received more than $16K in donations from the campaign.

“We want to show our support for Harry and Meghan,” Denese Carpenter, one of the organizers, says in an exclusive interview with theGrio.

Carpenter, Darcy McRae, and Jemi John spearheaded the global effort inspired by Harry and Meghan’s charitable Archewell Foundation which makes a point to show “compassion in action” by championing causes of inequality, vaccine awareness, and mental health. The organizers used social media to highlight the causes and “all the monies go directly to the charities.”

“We do not see the money. We do not touch it. All we do is set up the fundraisers and everything goes directly to the charities,” Carpenter emphasizes.

She hasn’t been contacted by the royal couple. It’s merely a genuine outpouring of support.

Prince Harry Meghan Markle
(Credit: Getty Images)

“Why do we care? Yes, they are people of privilege, but on the other hand, they’re still people that have faced a lot of things that many of us have faced, racial abuse, stigma, all kinds of things. I personally am in an interracial marriage, so I absolutely empathize with everything both Meghan and Harry are going through,” Carpenter, a Black woman who grew up in Britain, says.

“I also have a biracial daughter that looks very much like Meghan and for me, this fight is personal because when I defend Meghan, I feel like I’m defending my own daughter from the racial abuse.”

The Sussex Squad was forged by strangers coming online to defend Harry and Meghan from the abuse directed at them by The Firm, as the British royal family is known, press, trolls, and more as the couple shared in their tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Now, these organizations are benefiting from that loyalty.

“We are heartened to be one of the organizations that benefitted from the ’Sussex Squad’s’ Baby Shower and Archie’s 2nd Birthday Celebrations,” said Fr. Greg Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries in a statement to theGrio.

“‘The Squad” is a group of women from over 70 countries who are providing hope in a time when hope has never been more important. Through this campaign, Homeboy Industries received $17K in generous support from across the globe and we are grateful.”

David Alvarado, public relations and communication specialist, external affairs for The Mission Continues, similarly expressed gratitude in a statement provided to theGrio.

“The Mission Continues was one of four organizations chosen by the Sussex Squad to receive donations in honor of Archie’s second birthday and baby shower for their second child. So far we have raised: $16,433 from 326 Supporters from around the world.

We are incredibly grateful for their support and generosity. The funds that #SussexSquad helped to raise will engage veteran volunteers to address entrenched challenges facing underserved communities, a cause that Prince Harry is passionate about.”

Prince Harry Meghan Markle
Meghan and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, during a visit to the One25 charity on February 1, 2019 in Bristol, England. (Photo by Toby Melville – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The Sussex Squad previously came together for the #GlobalSussexBabyShower in recognition of Archie’s impending birth in 2019. Carpenter is amazed by the continued generosity even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I started it in the first of April and decided to go until the end of May because I felt because of the pandemic, many people may be experiencing hardship and it would be difficult for them to give. But yes, I was pleasantly surprised to see how many people were happy to donate and continue to donate, even though it ended on the 31st of May. I’ve left the link up and people are still donating.”

Carpenter shares that the response has been overwhelming from all corners of the world including the United States, Africa, Australia, France, Netherlands, United Kingdom and Canada.

“The US has always given, but very seldom do people outside of America give because they feel like, ‘Oh, it’s America, Americans don’t need anything’. And so, yes, these charities were supported by people all over the world,” Carpenter asserts.

Carpenter muses that the success of this fundraiser “shows how broad [Harry and Meghan] are; how global the reach is.”

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