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Peter and Karen Brill

The Brill Family Foundation announced What is LOVE as the recipient of their $20,000 Future Bender Fellow Award to continue its work with vulnerable teens.

Over the past few years, Peter and Karen Brill have explored ways of facilitating significant social and environmental impact through transformative change. They searched high and low for organizations and individuals that fit specific criteria that would make the most impact. Or, as they call them, future benders.

“A future bender is someone who can bring about system change,” said Peter Brill. “They have to have great leadership skills, motivation, commitment, ability to network, and a vision that is clear on how they will grow.”

The Brill Family Foundation’s goal is to identify exceptional individuals developing Central Coast-based programs that need financial support to reach the next level of their proven impact in their field.

According to Karen Brill, “The idea is not just to give, but to invest in something that will change the future. That will be sustainable in that change, that will keep on giving. And I feel that Peter and I have finally found that with What is LOVE.”

Enter What is LOVE’s Executive Director Christy Stillwell, MA Psy., a dynamic educator and activist with over twenty years of working to implement a healthy relationship curriculum in schools across the country. Through What is LOVE, Stillwell works directly with young people, parents, school staff, and mental health providers to educate, empower and prevent the harmful impacts of relationship abuse and violence.

With the support of the Future Bender Fellow Award, Stillwell plans to bring What is LOVE’s curriculum to the next level by creating an online educator portal for teachers, mental health professionals, and community-based organizations. The researched curriculum is designed to fit seamlessly into a classroom or workshop and contains everything needed to improve critical relationship skills, responsible decision making, and positive character development.

What is LOVE will also amplify its #teachLOVE message by providing an online space for discussion, modeling positive behaviors, and guiding our young people to effective solutions through technology. Thus, strengthening networks, a sense of community, and connecting youth to mental health resources beyond its current reach.

“I am so honored and excited to be named the 2022 Future Bender Fellow by the Brill Family Foundation,” said Stillwell. “For our students, this means increased access to healthy relationship education and mental health resources. Because of the generosity of Peter and Karen Brill, What is LOVE can reach many more youths before the crisis.”

The award has already helped highlight the need for What is LOVE’s work in the community and has opened doors for other funding opportunities and expanded its impact further.

The Brill Family Grant will host a reception for What is LOVE at 5 pm on Monday, August 22, at Crush Bar & Tap.

About What is LOVE: A program of the Santa Barbara Education Foundation, What is LOVE works directly with young people, parents, school staff, and mental health providers to educate, empower and activate students in a campus-based movement to change the harmful impacts of relationship abuse and violence. . For more information, visit

Santa Barbara Education Foundation promotes private support of Santa Barbara’s public education system, serving over 14,500 students in 19 schools. For more information, visit