Meghan Markle donates Starbucks gift cards to nonprofit advocating for paid leave

The Duchess of Sussex supplied the $25 gift cards through the Archewell Foundation, which she founded alongside her husband, Prince Harry

Meghan Markle’s longtime advocacy for paid family and medical leave continued with her donation of Starbucks gift cards to employees of a U.S.-based nonprofit campaigning for greater equity in the workforce.

People reported that Markle, 40, granted the cards to members of the nonprofit organization PL+US, working to win “high-quality paid family and medical leave for everyone” nationwide by 2022 according to its website.

Meghan Markle
The Duchess of Sussex paid a surprise visit to a London-based business dedicated to empowering disadvantaged women to regain control of their lives through education, emotional support and tangible life skills. (Photo by Jeremy Selwyn – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Markle supplied the gift cards through the Archewell Foundation, a nonprofit she founded with her husband, Prince Harry, 37.

Communications Director Neil Sroka announced the news Saturday via Twitter, praising Markle for her “classy” and “necessary” gesture.

“The Duchess of Sussex (aka #MeghanMarkle) bought everyone at @PaidLeaveUS a few cups of coffee while we’re working overtime to #SavePaidLeave,” Sroka wrote. “Unbelievably classy… and necessary.  Truly honored to know she has our backs in the fight to win #PaidLeaveForAll.”

The mother of two celebrated her 40th birthday in August by launching her 40×40 initiative. It encourages the general public to spend at least 40 minutes of their day supporting all the women returning to work in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

On Oct. 20, Markle took things a step further by penning an open letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer arguing for comprehensive, national paid leave to address the fact that the pandemic saw women leaving the workforce in record numbers.

“Over the past 20 months, the pandemic has exposed long-existing fault lines in our communities,” Markle wrote in the letter published by Paid Leave for All. “At an alarming rate, millions of women dropped out of the workforce, staying home with their kids as schools and daycares were closed, and looking after loved ones full-time. The working mom or parent is facing the conflict of being present or being paid. The sacrifice of either comes at a great cost.”

Meghan Markle
(Photo by Tim Rooke – Pool/Getty Images)

“I grew up on the $4.99 salad bar at Sizzler—it may have cost less back then (to be honest, I can’t remember)—but what I do remember was the feeling: I knew how hard my parents worked to afford this because even at five bucks, eating out was something special, and I felt lucky,” she continued.

“And as a Girl Scout, when my troop would go to dinner for a big celebration, it was back to that same salad bar or The Old Spaghetti Factory—because that’s what those families could afford to do too,” Markle recalled.

“I expect many of your constituents have their own version of that story. Perhaps you do, too. People in our country work incredibly hard, and yet the ask is soft: for a level playing field to achieve their version of a common dream—what is fair, and equal, and right,” she wrote.

Meghan and Prince Harry now have two children, son Archie, 2, and four-month-old daughter Lilibet.

“In June, my husband and I welcomed our second child,” her letter continued. “Like any parents, we were overjoyed. Like many parents, we were overwhelmed. Like fewer parents, we weren’t confronted with the harsh reality of either spending those first few critical months with our baby or going back to work.”  

theGrio’s Blue Telusma contributed to this report.

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