QUESTION: 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

Thank you for your question, Greg. I went to John Steed for an answer. He is the President of the
Board of the Community Environmental Council (CEC), a leading environmental organization in
Santa Barbara.
John is a fit, very bright, well-read and highly articulate man who looks much younger than his
years, with a quiet intensity and occasional flashes of deep emotion. He speaks easily and with
well-formed thoughts and phrases of an experienced corporate lawyer. His commitment to
changing the course of the future, and the impact that humankind is having on the environment,
is unreserved and inspiring.

History and how he became involved with the environment
John’s history gives you a sense of the evolution of how someone becomes interested in and
committed to the environment. By 1977 John was practicing corporate, transactional…

Altruism Repays Its Debts

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 I
should talk to someone who has spent and does spend the majority of his life dealing with
those three concerns.
Ron Gallo is a high-energy, intelligent, and charming man with a great sense of humor and who
is passionate about effective philanthropy and giving back to society. He is the President and
CEO of Santa Barbara Foundation (SBF). SBF is as central to philanthropy in Santa Barbara as
central can be. I wondered how he got into philanthropy. What were his greatest
accomplishments along the way? What was his model of how things change? What had he
learned along the way? And finally, where does impact investing fit into philanthropy and
change? I hope you find his …

A Heroine’s Journey

QUESTION: 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

Thank you, Marlene. I thought I would try to answer your question in a different way—by telling
you a story of a journey. Many people know the work of author Joseph Campbell. He described
myths and an important one was “the hero’s journey”. A hero’s journey is one that starts with an
adventure, intended or not, where the person goes through a series of experiences that transform
them into a hero. In this column the hero is a woman—it is a heroine’s journey.

Laura Francis is a fit, attractive, energetic brunette, with sparking eyes and a warm heart, who
does yoga every day. She lived all over the country as a child, moving seven times. At age 11,
she had an inspiring experience that shaped her life. A wonderful teacher in Santa Barbara took
her 6 th grade …

How to Find Your Passion

QUESTION: 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 loves, develops
over time. When I first retired at 52, I didn’t like the term retirement. It seemed to focus on
withdrawal. I was also interested in how people do this stage of life well. So, I started a radio
show called “The Third Age” (first age childhood, second age career and family, third age after
that), and that gave me the opportunity to interview 400 people.

Some of the people I interviewed were just like you and me, and we learned from their life stories. Some were experts in some field, and we learned from their research and knowledge. It became clear that the human spirit was vital to happiness and longevity. That the spirit that makes a person with artificial legs clim…

What Makes a Person Great?

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 put to me in this column by others so I thought this month I
would ask myself a few of my own. I came across someone who I think is a great person, and who has taken me a long way toward answering my questions.

Tom Washing, who now lives in Montecito, certainly is highly successful. He has been active in
the venture capital industry for over thirty years. He is a founding partner of Sequel Venture
Partners, a Colorado-based venture capital firm investing in emerging growth technology
companies which, at one point, had 400 million dollars under management. He has served on
dozens of corporate and non-profit Boards of Directors, including as founding Chairman of the
University of Colorado Center for Entrepreneurs…

Dealing with Betrayal and Hurt

QUESTION: 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 am going to have to write in general. I am not
going to address betrayal at work in this column, but perhaps in another, as it is a broad topic and
deserves one of its own.You have caused me to think deeply about my own life and the betrayals I have faced. Certainly, betrayal is very painful, and it can undermine trust and color our experiences for a

I am going to start by telling you a story about an experience I had in the past.
I was doing an interview in the bar at the Montecito Wine Bistro for a radio show I had at that
time. My producer and I moved indoors because the weather was becoming a problem. The
woman I was interviewing was producing a play in Los Angeles for the first time i…

The Profitable Future of Traditional Philanthropy

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.
Why don’t more of these organizations find ways to create revenues to help them sustain
themselves? . . . Stephen in Montecito

That is an excellent question, Stephen. I feel that this is such an important question that I hired a
research assistant, Mariah Miller from UCSB, to help me research it and write this column. I
believe that finding more diverse ways for these valuable organizations to sustain themselves is
vital. You are right about the Girl Scouts. They generated $23 million in revenues through gross
profit on merchandise compared to $15.5 million through gifts, grants and bequests in the
previous fiscal year. There are other non-profits in Santa Barbara that are also using this
approach. But…