Reasons to be Cheerful is a non-profit editorial project that is tonic for tumultuous times. 


We tell stories that reveal that there are, in fact, a surprising number of reasons to feel cheerful. Many of these reasons come in the form of smart, proven, replicable solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. We’re here to tell you about some of them. Through sharp reporting, our stories balance a sense of healthy optimism with journalistic rigor, and find cause for hope. We are part magazine, part therapy session, part blueprint for a better world.

Reasons to be Cheerful was founded by artist and musician David Byrne, who believes in the power of approaching the world with curiosity—in art, in music, in collaboration and in life. Under the banner of Byrne’s Arbutus Foundation, Reasons to be Cheerful embodies this sensibility, applying it now to the future of our world. Through stories of hope, rooted in evidence, Reasons to be Cheerful aims to inspire us all to be curious about how the world can be better, and to ask ourselves how we can be part of that change.

Our Team

David Byrne - Founder

David Byrne is the founder and in-house headline writer of Reasons to be Cheerful, and the founder of the Arbutus Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to re-imagining the world through projects that inspire and educate. Reasons to be Cheerful is the Arbutus Foundation’s first project.

Christine McLaren - Editor

Christine McLaren is co-editor of Reasons to be Cheerful. Her work has appeared in Monocle, Metropolis, the Globe and Mail and other publications. She co-founded Discourse Media, an acclaimed solutions-journalism project. She was the resident writer of the BMW Guggenheim Lab, and the lead researcher for the award-winning book Happy City: Transforming Our Lives through Urban Design. She lives in Vancouver.

Will Doig - Editor

Will Doig is co-editor of Reasons to be Cheerful. His work has appeared in the Guardian, Foreign Policy and NPR. His book, High-Speed Empire: Chinese Expansion and the Future of Southeast Asia, was published in 2018. He lives in New York City.

Jose Reyes - Designer

Jose Reyes is the founder and Creative Director of Misterfreek. All design, including ideation, strategy and branding/user experience come from his belief that successful conversions lie in branding that is simple, transparent and accessible. His work has been recognized by the Wave Festival and Cannes Lions.

Francesca Michel - Digital Content Manager

Francesca Michel is a born and raised New Yorker and Photoshop enthusiast, and is the social media maven for Reasons to be Cheerful. Holding a B.A. in Art History from Reed College, her research focuses on depictions of digital media in postmodern film with an affinity for cultural studies and Marxism for the 21st century. She has contributed to the digital content of FutureAir, LifeEdited and Great Bowery.