Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are connecting with young people making the digital world a better place.
In a new video released Wednesday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex surprised some recipients of the first-ever Responsible Technology Youth Power Fund grants with phone calls. Prince Harry, 38, and Meghan, 41, were all smiles when they called some of the recipients from a bright garden — who tell PEOPLE they were equally excited.
“They congratulated me; they said they were really proud of the work that we’re doing here at Cyber Collective,” Tazin Khan Norelius, founder and CEO of Cyber Collective, exclusively tells PEOPLE.
Meghan also asked Tazin to pass along a message to her dad, who was an inspiration behind the organization.
“She said, ‘Tell Baba I say hi!’ Which was really sweet,” Tazin says. “The impetus of me starting this organization, one of the reasons was because dad got hacked. When I was able to share that story, I think that maybe resonated with them, and they congratulated me. When I told my dad, he was just so excited about it.”
Sam Hiner, executive director of the Young People’s Alliance Education Fund, tells PEOPLE of his phone call with Prince Harry and Meghan, “What I appreciated is that sometimes it feels like we’re not as recognized for the advocacy we do as young people. I really appreciated that they saw the importance of the work that we were doing and were speaking to the importance of young people getting engaged in the democratic process.”
“More broadly, connecting it back to how important it is for our democracy that young people are engaged, because if our next generation doesn’t get engaged then we’re going to have serious issues as we start to move into leadership positions as a generation,” he added.
In the video, the Duke of Sussex thanked Sneha Revanur of Encode Justice for helping make the world a better place and referenced his kids — Prince Archie, 4, and Princess Lilibet, 2.
“Thank you for doing everything that you do. Our kids especially are incredibly grateful,” Prince Harry said.
“They don’t know it yet, but they will!” Meghan added with a laugh.
Prince Harry and Meghan’s Archewell Foundation is a founding member of the Responsible Technology Youth Power Fund, a philanthropic initiative dedicated to supporting youth and intergenerational-led organizations shaping the future of the responsible technology movement earlier this year. The fund raised $2 million to distribute via grants to 501(c)3 eligible public charities making today’s tech ecosystem a more inclusive and equitable place, according to the RT Youth Power Fund’s about page.
Applications for the grant awards opened in March, closed in April and the 26 organizations awarded in the inaugural cohort were notified in May. The funds were disbursed on June 1, with the grant period set to run until the end of May 2024. Charities were awarded between $25,000 and $200,000, based on the stage of the organization and its needs.
In February, Archewell announced its participation in the Youth Power Fund “as part of the foundation’s ongoing commitment to the future of technology and its impact on society.”
Making the digital world a better place is a key focus of the public work of the Archewell Foundation, which the Duke and Duchess of Sussex launched in 2020 shortly after stepping back from their roles as senior working royals. The organization is named for the Greek word meaning “source of action,” which also was the basis for Prince Archie’s name.
“At The Archewell Foundation, our core purpose is, quite simply, to do good. We meet the moment by showing up, taking action, and using our unparalleled spotlight to uplift and unite communities, both local and global, online and offline,” Archewell’s about page states. “Baked into all that we do is the core belief that our collective well-being and mental health are paramount. Our three main pillars of focus are to build a better world online, to restore trust in information, and above all, to uplift communities.”