Royal Baby Shoutout Sparks Flood of Donations for Hollywood-Supported Charity

The 2017 Baby2Baby Gala - Kelly Sawyer Patricof-Gwyneth Paltrow Jennifer Garner -Norah Weinstein - Getty-H 2019
Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images

Baby2Baby — an L.A.-based nonprofit that provides diapers, clothing, hygiene products and other necessities to kids living in poverty — has no shortage of celebrity patrons. Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Garner, Katy Perry, Jessica Alba, Nicole Richie and Jenna Dewan are just a few of the A-list pals of Baby2Baby founders and co-presidents Kelly Sawyer Patricof and Norah Weinstein. That enviable circle has just grown by two in the most royal of ways.

The duke and duchess of Sussex selected Baby2Baby as one of four organizations — the only one in the U.S. — royally approved to accept gifts in celebration of the birth of their first child, due any day. Since Meghan Markle and Prince Harry announced the picks April 5 on Instagram to their 5 million followers, Baby2Baby, which lets benefactors donate cash or buy items from a registry on Amazon, has "been flooded" with donations, according to Sawyer Patricof. (Other picks were the Lunchbox Fund, Little Village HQ and WellChild.)

Thus far this month, Baby2Baby has received more than 5,000 products to disperse to children in need — including cribs, books, backpacks and diapers, plus thousands of dollars in cash — from around the world. Using the Amazon registry, people donated 2,014 toothbrushes and 80 bottles of shampoo. Of the cribs donated, the duke and duchess’ gesture benefitted one homeless woman who was sleeping in a garage with her 4-month-old baby. “It’s still coming in and growing every day,” Weinstein notes.

As for how the connection came to be, Weinstein says that some of their supporters are friends with Markle, who lived and worked in Los Angeles as an actress, best known for her work on USA’s Suits. "We think it came down to the fact that she's from L.A. and wanted to use this moment to help children in poverty in her hometown. We knew that they were fans … but what we didn’t know is that they were going to use the opportunity of the baby shower and registry to select us to be a part of it.”

While Baby2Baby has been on the receiving end of high-profile goodwill in the past (President Obama’s office once reached out on a diaper initiative), attention from the royals is in another stratosphere. “We felt the difference with the royals,” Sawyer Patricof says, adding that the couple’s global reach translated to press attention, increased social media followers and an uptick in general interest. “We even heard from aunts and uncles and distant cousins who haven’t reached out in years. [The royals] have that additional fact about them that they just appeal to everyone, it seems.”

To say thank you, Sawyer Patricof and Weinstein say they put their heads together to write a handwritten thank-you note “in the most proper English way,” says Sawyer Patricof, who was born in London. To double check their work, they admit to leaning on Google to make sure they addressed their royal highnesses correctly. “Now we know how to properly address the duke and duchess,” Weinstein says, adding that they used Shutterfly’s Tiny Prints stationery.





What an incredibly special surprise the grassroots led #globalsussexbabyshower was last Sunday! The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are immensely grateful for the outpouring of love and support in anticipation of the birth of their first child. In lieu of sending gifts, the couple have long planned to encourage members of the public to make donations to select charities for children and parents in need. If you already made a donation, the couple send you their greatest thanks. If you are thinking about it, they ask that you kindly consider the following organisations they’ve selected, which we will highlight here over the next few days: @thelunchboxfund @littlevillagehq @wellchild @baby2baby The Duke and Duchess remain appreciative for your warm wishes and kindness during this especially happy time in their lives! Thank you for sharing the love

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A version of this story first appeared in the April 24 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.