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Archewell Foundation: NBC Talks to CharityWatch CEO, Laurie Styron

   May 16, 2024

Archewell Foundation, the charity of Megan and Harry, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, was issued a "notice of delinquency" by the state of California for allegedly failing to pay its $200 filing fee "after a May 2023 expiration." According to NBC, a "source close to Archewell said Monday that the group's initial check was lost in the mail but that payment has been resubmitted, adding that the issue was expected to be resolved within days." 

While a $200 late filing fee is rarely something that would garner national media attention, the high-profile status of the charity's founders often puts the charity's activities under a microscope. California Attorney General, Gavin Newsom, "pushed back at the coverage of the charity," according to NBC, saying that the "foundation's setback was 'typical'" and that 'it was a technical paperwork issue that was wildly over-hyped.'"

While it is true that even the most responsible and well-thought-of charities can run afoul of onerous state filing requirements from time to time, CharityWatch CEO, Laurie Styron, expressed concern that the delinquency could have been the result of a lack of adequate oversight by the charity's board of directors. According to NBC:

"CharityWatch CEO Laurie Styron said the foundation appears to stray from the norm in at least 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.'"

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