Harry and Meghan’s Archewell charity no longer ‘delinquent,’ California AG finds

May 15, 2024
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LOS ANGELES — The Beverly Hills-based charity founded by Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, was considered “in good standing” by the state of California on Tuesday and no longer “delinquent” on a past due payment, the attorney general’s office said.

The change in status means the Archewell Foundation, which was initially registered in the state in 2021, can resume raising money and operate again in California.

“We have diligently investigated the situation and can confirm that The Archewell Foundation remains fully compliant and in good standing,” a spokesman for the charity said in a statement. “Due payments were made promptly and in accordance with the IRS’s processes and procedures. Furthermore, all necessary paperwork had been filed by the Foundation without error or wrongdoing.”

Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office did not say when it realized the foundation was “current” with the state’s Registry of Charities and Fundraisers. The update comes a day after speculation over why the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s charity, which has previously reported more than $13 million in total revenue, had seemingly failed to pay a $200 annual filing fee after a May 2023 expiration.

Bonta issued a notice of delinquency to the foundation this month, noting that its renewal information was incomplete.

A source close to Archewell said Monday that the group’s initial check was lost in the mail but that payment had been resubmitted, adding that the issue was expected to be resolved within days.

But without further clarification from his office or Harry and Meghan themselves, getting to the bottom of the apparent outstanding payment may be difficult, royal family observers say.

The couple, who stepped back from royal duties in 2020 and moved to California, have been in Nigeria bringing attention to causes they have long supported, including wounded veterans.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom pushed back at the coverage of the charity Tuesday during an unrelated event focused on behavorial health in the Bay Area, telling reporters that the foundation’s setback was “typical.”

“I just want folks to know, not only are they in compliance,” Newsom said, “it was a technical paperwork issue that was wildly over-hyped.”

CharityWatch, a watchdog group in Chicago that investigates nonprofit organizations, said it considers the Archewell Foundation “not ratable,” given that it was founded only recently and does not have enough years’ worth of financial activity.

According to its filings with the state, the Archewell Foundation, a name inspired by the couple’s son, Archie, is “an impact-driven nonprofit created by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex,” and its “core purpose is to uplift and unite communities — local and global, online and offline — one act of compassion at a time.”

Styron said the foundation appears to stray from the norm in one aspect: In its 2022 tax filing, it reports its governing body consists of only two people — Harry and Meghan. She said the widely accepted minimum “best practice” in the nonprofit sector is five voting board members, “the majority of which should be independent.”

In general, “a charity whose board is too small and lacks a majority independent board is not well-positioned to consistently make decisions that are in the best interest of the charity or provide adequate oversight of its operations,” Styron said. “Charities are not small businesses or hobbies intended to be controlled by one married couple or family. Rather, they are owned by the public for the public interest and are intended to exist as legal entities independent from the interests of the people running them.”

Diana Dasrath reported from Los Angeles and Erik Ortiz from New York.


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