NEW YORK (AP) — The star-studded Prince’s Trust Global Gala raised more than $1.7 million Thursday night at Casa Cipriani in New York City, as a wide range of grantees — past and present — explained how King Charles III’s charity has improved their lives.
“Luther” star Idris Elba revealed that without a grant from The Prince’s Trust when he was 17, he would not have been able to join the National Youth Music Theatre, which launched his career.
“One thing The Prince’s Trust gave me was confidence,” said Elba, who mingled among celebrities including actress Sienna Miller, supermodels Kate Moss and Winnie Harlow and fashion designers Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors among others. “It gave me the confidence to believe in what I do, who I am and what I can be.”
The Prince’s Trust hopes to offer that kind of support in the United States, where it plans to further expand this year.
“His majesty couldn’t be with us this evening — I know he wanted to be,” said Charlotte Mensah, owner of the Hairlounge salon in London and a past grantee of The Prince’s Trust.
“He has something next week,” joked Mensah, referring to King Charles III’s coronation on May 6.
In a letter to the gala’s attendees, read by Mensah, King Charles III said he could not have dreamed The Prince’s Trust would have expanded to 23 countries when he launched it in 1976 with his severance pay from the Royal Navy.
“I am thrilled to say that it has now worked with over 1 million young people, helping them to start careers, launch businesses and reengage with education,” King Charles III wrote. “I am enormously inspired by the determination and commitment of young people.”
Will Straw, CEO of The Prince’s Trust International, told The Associated Press that the charity’s mission is as essential as ever.
“This year, we’ll support around 100,000 young people directly around the world, helping them gain the skills for meaningful work,” Straw said. “And this is so important because young people have been hit so hard economically by the pandemic.”
The International Labor Organization and others have highlighted a gap between the skills that employers need and those young people gain during their education, he said.
“Something’s missing,” Straw said. “But all around the world, our programs are closing that gap.”
Greece’s Crown Prince Pavlos said he has seen what The Prince’s Trust accomplished in his homeland and is hopeful it can succeed on the same level in the U.S., where he now lives.
“We have so much capacity in America for people to help entrepreneurially, but we also have a lot of people in need,” he said. “This can be a real stronghold for The Prince’s Trust.”
British singer Rita Ora stepped in to perform at the gala Thursday night after original host Lionel Richie had to travel to the United Kingdom to prepare his performance for the king’s forthcoming coronation.
Ora, who performed her new single “Praising You” in public for the first time, said she was happy to show her support for the cause.
“It’s everything I believe in,” she said. “I think the truth really lies in the results and that’s why I back it.” ____
Associated Press coverage of philanthropy and nonprofits receives support through the AP’s collaboration with The Conversation US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. The AP is solely responsible for this content. For all of AP’s philanthropy coverage, visit https://apnews.com/hub/philanthropy.