Author spotlight: Peter Brill

Dr. Brill can be reached at His blog appears at Specializing in medicine, psychiatry, marriage and family therapy, nonprofits and business, he has served as a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and Wharton School of Business, consulted to more than 100 organizations, run workshops on adult development, and performed major research on the outcome of psychiatric treatment. He is the founder of Sustainable Change Alliance & co-author of Finding Your J Spot.

Helping the Nonprofit Community
By Peter Brill   |   March 5, 2020

Every once in a while, I have something that I feel so strongly should be presented because of its importance to community, change, and capital that I write it without a question from my readers. Ken Saxon’s work is one such example. Ken Saxon rightly is seen in the Santa Barbara community as the guru […]

A Year in Review
By Peter Brill   |   February 6, 2020

I started this column wanting to highlight how people can have an impact or create positive change, find personal meaning, and sometimes even make money doing it. I hoped to spotlight new and existing opportunities to benefit our community – what’s out there and what can be done to achieve these goals, who is doing […]

Discovering What Matters
By Peter Brill   |   December 12, 2019

Leadership Vacuum Q. Why are there so many stores downtown that are empty? There are other towns like San Luis Obispo and Palm Springs that have made successful efforts. Why isn’t Santa Barbara doing more? – Mathew in Montecito Clearly, there are problems with downtown retail struggling all over the country as online purchasing grows […]

Our Biggest Challenge
By Peter Brill   |   October 1, 2019

Q. One of the biggest challenges I face as a member of the Santa Barbara community is what to do about climate change. Can you help? – Greg in Goleta A. Thank you for your question, Greg. I went to John Steed for an answer. He is the President of the Board of the Community […]

Altruism Repays Its Debts
By Peter Brill   |   September 26, 2019

What really matters in life? What experiences shape our journey? How is today a reflection of our journey and what we have learned and experienced along the way? And mainly, what causes a person to dedicate their life to philanthropy? I have been writing about community, change, and capital for months now and I thought […]

A Heroine’s Journey
By Peter Brill   |   August 8, 2019

Q. Dear Dr. Brill. I have appreciated much of what you have written. I understand that you are interested in what produces change. With the crises in our ocean, could you say something about that? . . . Marlene in Carpinteria A. Thank you, Marlene. I thought I would try to answer your question in […]

How to Find Your Passion
By Peter Brill   |   July 4, 2019

Q. It is clear to me that you are passionate about impact investing. I am having trouble finding my passion. How did you do it? – Michael from Santa Barbara Thank you for the question; it really caused me to think. Very few people actually just walk into passion and success. Passion, like great love, […]

What Makes a Person Great?
By Peter Brill   |   May 23, 2019

What makes a person great? If they are rich enough, are they great? What do we look for when we say they are wise? What does it mean when we say they make a difference? If we want to make a difference, are there models we can emulate or admire? I have been answering questions […]

Dealing with Betrayal and Hurt
By Peter Brill   |   April 18, 2019

Q. I have felt betrayed in my love life and also at work. Can you help me to get over these feelings of hurt? – Patricia in Goleta  Thank you for your question, Patricia. It is an important question and a large topic. You have given me very few details of either situation, so I […]

The Profitable Future of Traditional Philanthropy
By Peter Brill   |   March 14, 2019

by Dr. Peter Brill, with Mariah Miller QUESTION: I hear there are 1,000 non-profits in Santa Barbara. I am newly retired and moved here from Chicago after selling my business. I look at an organization like the Girl Scouts, which provides for a significant portion of their financial needs by selling cookies and other things. […]

The Power of Money – the Bad and the Good
By Peter Brill   |   January 24, 2019

Q. I have my own money and I inherited some more from my parents. I find I am very confused about what to do with it. I buy things I don’t really need, and I give to charity but mostly only at the end of the year. I want to do something bigger and give […]

Would You Like a 500-Times Return on Your Money?
By Peter Brill   |   December 20, 2018

Q. I read the previous column about Jonathan Gartner and his excitement about impact investing. Isn’t philanthropy the best way to help people? I have heard that impact investing yields a low financial return. Why should I be interested in it? – Sam in Montecito Certainly, philanthropy is vitally important to our welfare at the […]

Finding Purpose, Passion, & Meaning
By Peter Brill   |   November 15, 2018

Q. Okay, so per your last column, people, as they age, want more passion, purpose, and joy in their lives and a few are finding it. I’d like that too. You can make mine with a cherry on top. But it’s hard to imagine “how.” I’m retired and supposedly living “the good life,” but it […]

Changing the System
By Peter Brill   |   October 18, 2018

Throughout my life, I have worked with people and organizations, studying and trying to help them produce change and then measure its impact validly. After 75 years of life, I feel like I have put my time to good use and learned a lot, not only about systems – how they work at the cellular, […]