Naperville native’s anti-cyberbullying nonprofit gets Archewell funding assist

Naperville native Trisha Prabhu on the phone with Prince Harry and his wife Meghan discussing anti-cyberbullying
Donate Today

Rethink Citizens, an anti-cyberbullying nonprofit created by Naperville native Trisha Prabhu, was recently chosen to receive funding through a new initiative whose members include Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan’s, Archewell Foundation.

Prabhu received a call from the two congratulating her for being selected, as well as her efforts to help combat cyberbullying.

Responsible Technology Youth Power Fund

Rethink Citizens is one of 26 youth-led organizations across the U.S. to be part of the inaugural cohort receiving funding through the newly launched Responsible Technology Youth Power Fund. All of the groups selected are focused on the idea of responsible technology.

As seen on a video on the fund’s site, according to Dr. Jaspal Sandhu, executive vice president of Hopelab, and a member of the Youth Power Fund Advisory Committee, the fund is “an investment in young people that are shaping a more equitable and inclusive technology future.”

14 different organizations, including the Archewell Foundation, partnered to launch the Responsible Technology Youth Power Fund, which has raised $2 million. Grants range from $25,000 to $200,000, depending on the organization’s needs.

ReThink Citizens was granted $50,000.

The fund seeks to support those who are ensuring equitable access to technology, using technology to address social, cultural, political, or environmental problems, helping form technology to help safeguard human rights, or mitigating harmful impacts technology may have.

Call from Prince Harry and Meghan

In the video on the Responsible Technology Youth Power Fund website, Prabhu expresses her surprise at getting the call from Prince Harry and Meghan.

“I can’t believe that I’m, I’m speaking with you both right now,” she said.

Prabhu came up with the idea for the ReThink software in 2013 when she was just 13, after reading the story of a Florida girl who died by suicide after being cyberbullied.

Her plan was to create a way to help mitigate cyberbullying at its starting point, having seen the harmful comments that people would make under the filter of technology.

As she explained on the call to Harry and Meghan, “It was like young people were empowered and emboldened to say things to me online that they would never say to me in person. And so my vision was, can we actually stop the cyberbullying at the source, with the cyberbully via a behavioral approach that actually teaches young people to pause and rethink.”

Her technology works by pausing the sending of a potentially harmful message, giving the user a chance to review. If offensive language is detected, the technology will pose a query to the sender as to whether it’s truly the message they want to send, giving them a chance to pause and “rethink” it. According to the ReThink website, when adolescents are prompted to do so, their willingness to post offensive messages is reduced from 71% to 4%. Since its inception, it has grown beyond just technology, into an anti-cyberbullying movement.

ReThink Citizens, nonprofit branch

ReThink Citizens, the nonprofit branch of her organization, was launched a few months ago in an effort to help get the technology to youth who may not have access to resources of that type.

“This is amazing, this is exactly why we do what we do, this is exactly why the Youth Power Fund was created,” Harry told Prabhu during the call.

Prabhu told the Chicago Tribune she plans to use the funding to help bring technology and educational materials to youths in the Caribbean.

Photos courtesy: Responsible Technology Youth Power Fund

If you have a story idea, we want to hear from you!