ST. LOUIS – Emma Lembke says it was a major surprise that her tech reform work earned a phone call from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

“I had one of the craziest surprise calls of my life with the Duke and Duchess,” Lembke said creator of Design It for Us. “Harry and Meghan called me to say that I was a grant recipient of the Responsible Youth Tech Fund, that is awarding over $2 million to youth groups who are seeking to better understand for a greater tech future.” 

The Responsible Technology Youth Power Fund is backed by 14 organizations, and among them is the Archewell Foundation by Prince Harry and Meghan.

Lembke, who founded the ‘Log Off’ movement during high school and at Washington University, explained the origins of “Design It for Us” from her experiences at college.

“We want to see greater algorithmic transparency,” she said. “We want to see young people’s privacy protected online, and we talk through the importance of why young people need to be protected. We talk through the issues and have collaborative and critical dialogue surrounding kids’ safety.”

Another Washington University student, Yoelle Gulko, the creator of Our Subscription to Addiction, a documentary that depicts the raw and vulnerable experience of phone addiction and social media, was also named a Responsible Technology Youth Power Fund recipient.

Both Yoelle and Emma are aware of the negative effects of technology and have the ability to speak up and push for the changes they desire.

“Which for youth orgs is so difficult to do the work that we do without any funding and without a lot of time and energy cause most of us are kids or most of us are in college or in high school,” Lembke said. “To be able to have that support system is monumental and deepening our ability to connect with one another and our communities.”