Author Archives: joychesbrough

25 Years of Making The World A Better Place

He drove a 1970’s Chevrolet Chevelle Concours station wagon, complete with faux-wood paneling and a rooftop luggage rack. Every summer, he’d drive our family up to our cabin in Northern Michigan to get us, as he’d say, “out of the house and into the woods.”

It was an endless adventure of learning with my father. He especially loved teaching us about animal habitats, ecosystems, and species of trees.  

His National Geographic magazine collection up on bookshelves in our living room was always a treasure trove of information. He always enjoyed spending evenings reading in his favorite chair. I’d sneak into the room after he left for work, just to get my hands on the magical picture books filled with pages of exotic animals and far away places.

Those magazines spanned a lifetime of important information that opened up my father’s world—and eventually mine. He took from his books and magazines an expansive knowledge of nature and geography, and transferred that knowledge and love of the outdoors back to me.

Then, there was my mom.  

For as long as I can remember, my mom always enjoyed giving back. She always was the first to notice needs in the community. It was during the holiday’s where I saw this gift demonstrated most. She always said, “to whom much is given, much is required.” 

This is why she packed us kids into that same wood-paneled Chevrolet station wagon and drove us downtown to volunteer at the Salvation Army. It’s a Holiday tradition I practice to this day. 

We’d spend the morning together sorting clothes and packing boxes full of canned food and toys, to make sure other little girls like me would have something special for Christmas. My mom told me that she was once one of those girls growing up in the projects of Detroit. This childhood experience motivates her today to pay it forward.

On weekends, she used to drive us to the local hospital in Rochester, where we volunteered as candy stripers. Adorned in pink and white hospital uniforms, we passed out flowers and books to eager patients looking for a good read and a kind word to pass the day. Sometimes these books were the only thing that helped sick patients escape the pain, loneliness, and longing for better days ahead. 

It was during those times that I became aware of the welfare of others and what our shared humanity could look like. About not only being open to the differences we all share, but to love and value those differences.

From my father’s passion for nature and knowledge and my mother’s generous heart, I learned that the pursuit of knowledge and generosity are inseparable.

And it’s at this intersection of knowledge and philanthropy that I have found myself.

As the Director of Philanthropy at the Internet Archive, I lead a team that educates millions of people all over the world about, well, everything. Including why it’s so important to preserve humanity’s knowledge—to preserve our collective footprint of culture and history.

And now, thanks to the Internet Archive, every day more than 1.6 million people access our nonprofit digital library. Accessed by genealogists, gamers, scientists, teachers, students, journalists and poets. The Internet Archive stores curated collections of more than 6 million books, 240,000 concerts, 5 million videos, 32 million magazines and other texts, 25 million scholarly research materials, 625 billion web pages—about everything in the world. Literally. For free. You can even access my  favorite collection from the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the Internet Archive. A celebration of 25 years of fulfilling the mission of providing Universal Access to All Knowledge.

Personally, I am celebrating my 25th year in philanthropy.

After 25 years of leading philanthropy departments at some of the largest nonprofit organizations in the world with missions providing access to education, clean water, medicine, gender equity, and innovation, I now find myself serving over 100,000 contributors from all over the world. I’m grateful to be part of a vision that’s creating an online repository of knowledge—for keeping a record of history that can’t be erased, and is accessible to millions worldwide. 

Knowledge, as we know, is the foundation of everything.

Now, I invite you to take your own journey by exploring an endless reservoir of information—explore the Internet Archive for yourself.  

You never know where that journey will take you.

Please visit us at and consider making an end-of-year donation by December 31st. We have a generous 2:1 match that triples your impact. Please share your own personal journey with us on social media (twitter, FB, Insta links). Most importantly, we are deeply grateful for your continued generosity and support.  

Wishing you a happy and healthy Holiday season! 


Joy Chesbrough is the Director of Philanthropy at the Internet Archive. When she’s not reading books and magazines about biodiversity or endangered species, you can find her serving on the Board of Directors at the What If Foundation, which educates and serves school children of all ages in Haiti. She also enjoys sailing,  traveling, and volunteering in her community with her French bulldog, Napoleon.

Holiday Cheer for a Good Cause

The holidays are the season for giving—a time when many people open their hearts and wallets to support charitable organizations. In that spirit, the Internet Archive’s Development Department collaborated with a generous donor this year to invest both in the people at the archive and in local communities led by black entrepreneurs.

The anonymous donor gave a $150,000 gift to the Internet Archive, choosing to pay a portion of it forward to IA employees. Why? Because he has witnessed firsthand how hard nonprofit employees work, and understands the critical role staff play in providing a better ecosystem to thrive in. As an entrepreneurial leader and philanthropist who has worked for the largest tech companies and launched a variety of startups, this donor feels passionately about giving back to the community and volunteers some of his time to inspire future entrepreneurs and students to reach their dreams. 

Each employee at the Internet Archive will be given a $100 gift certificate to use at one small business or nonprofit to complete the “pay it forward” wish of our anonymous donor. Every business on the list below is Black-owned and operated, and the nonprofits pursue a variety of social justice missions. By supporting both small entrepreneurs and well-respected charities, we’re giving back to our communities and expressing solidarity with groups that focus on diversity and minority equity. Our focus is on making a difference for those who keep economies and communities healthy and whole.

We encourage both our employees and supporters everywhere to please give your patronage and pay it forward in your community—because paying it forward isn’t about the size of the gift, but about the act of kindness. And we could all use a little more kindness this year.

Pay it forward: To repay a kindness received with a good deed to someone else.

CultureFit Clothing
CultureFit is body-positive activewear for the culturally conscious woman. Founded in early 2018 by a group of West African descendent women, they believe in a place “where wellness, womanhood, and global consciousness intersect with comfort, body positivity, and the pursuit of a healthy, active lifestyle. Featuring leggings, tops, and yoga mats, CultureFit strives to celebrate not just various cultures but all shapes and sizes. They are small and still growing, but over time, you can expect to see a range of sizes added to each collection.

Farms To Grow
Farms To Grow is an Oakland-based non-profit dedicated to working with Black farmers and underserved farmers around the country. Farms To Grow focuses on sustainable farming and innovative agriculture practices that preserve the cultural and biological diversity and the agroecological balance of the local environment. Subscribers can sign up for their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Program for local delivery or pickup of their non-GMO and chemical-free CSA Harvest Bag, available once a month on every 2nd Saturday.

Harlem Chocolate Factory
Harlem Chocolate Factory is an artisan chocolate company where they convey the various cultural experiences and stories of Harlem through their chocolate products. Founded in 2015 by Jessica Spaulding and Asha Dixon, their confections feature the names of some of Harlem’s most historic sites, and ingredients sourced by Fair or Direct Trade, or locally from upstate New York. The Harlem Chocolate Factory is a featured product on the 2020 Oprah’s Favorite Things list.

McBride Sisters Collection
McBride Sisters Collection is not only the largest Black-owned wine company in the United States, but among the most inclusive, accessible, socially aware, and sustainable. Founded by two sisters Robin and Andréa McBride, their signature wines are inspired by the endless pursuit of all women who are making their dreams a reality and breaking barriers daily. Their wines include the fun, fab, and eco-friendly SHE CAN and the Black Girl Magic collection.


OUI the People
OUI the People is a beauty brand dedicated to fighting the traditional negative tropes of the beauty industry. Rather than pursuing flawlessness, the company aims to build efficacious products, designed thoughtfully, that help you feel great in the skin you’re already in. Whether it’s dry skin, razor burn, or ingrown hairs, OUI the People’s line of sustainable beauty products aims to feel as great on your skin as it does on your psyche.

Red Bay Coffee Roasters
Red Bay Coffee Roasters is committed to beans that are not only high-quality and sustainable, but a vehicle for diversity, inclusion, social and economic restoration, entrepreneurship, and environmental sustainability. Founded in 2014 by Keba Konte, Red Bay seeks to create unity by hiring and serving people of all backgrounds, striving to be diverse and inclusive of those who have traditionally been left out of the specialty coffee industry—especially people of color, the formerly incarcerated, women, and people with disabilities.

Savor Blends Seasoning
Savor Blends is a collection of savory salts, rubs, butters, and sauces. Founded by Dulani, Lisa, and Myles Spencer, each artisanal batch is handcrafted with love right from their kitchen. From the Black Garlic Vampire Butter to the “Brown Sugar, Baby” rub, these flavors are sure to spice up your meat and potatoes dinner.

Uncle Nearest Whiskey
Uncle Nearest Whiskey celebrates the history and craftsmanship of Uncle Nearest, a former Tennessee slave who taught Jack Daniel how to make whiskey and is credited as Daniel’s first master distiller. Founded by Fawn Weaver, she built the company to ensure that the legacy of Nathan Green, aka Uncle Nearest, lives on through whiskey. Their premium spirit is the most awarded American whiskey two years running and is a featured product on the 2020 Oprah’s Favorite Things list.


United Negro College Fund:
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People:
Black Girls Code:
Ignite Mental Health Services:
Black Thrive: