Jack Brill, a pioneer of the socially responsible investment (SRI) industry and co-founder of Natural Investments, passed away on January 21, 2021 at age 89. As one of the earliest SRI advisors in the ‘80s, Jack was a passionate advocate and known for his heartfulness and thought leadership. No one can attest to this better than his son and co-founder Hal Brill, who described their eventual realization of the power of socially responsible investing in Bringing Consciousness to Capitalism.
He wrote one of the first books on the field, Investing from the Heart (Crown, 1992). From this Jack created The Heart Rating, the first and most rigorous ESG rating system of SRI mutual funds, now in its 29th year.
From 1993-2000, Jack participated in a NY Times study that compared his SRI portfolio to 4 other non-SRI advisor portfolios; after 28 quarters of articles comparing the various portfolios, his came within 17 basis points of the leading average annual return and demonstrated the financial efficacy of SRI.
With his son and co-advisor Hal Brill and Green Money publisher Cliff Feigenbaum, Jack co-authored Investing With Your Values: Making Money and Making a Difference (Bloomberg, 1999 and New Society, 2000). The book generated a lot of interest in the field and led Jack and Hal to form Natural Investment Services with Michael Kramer in 2000. These accomplishments and several others were noted in our 100th issue newsletter piece in the summer of 2019.
With the formation of Natural Investments PBLLC in 2007, Jack retired to San Luis Obispo, CA, where he remained very active even after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. He was very involved with Carol Walton, President of the Parkinson Alliance, and managed to persuade some former students at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to develop his invention that helps people with Parkinson’s to walk. A TV news segment modeled the effective use of his concept, now a start-up company. Jack was also Chair of the Social Action Fund of his local congregation.
Everyone who got to be around Jack appreciated his warmth, candor, and humor. He will be cherished in the hearts of all who knew him. Donations can be made in Jack’s honor to:
- Parkinson Alliance PO Box 308, Kingston, NJ 08528 https://www.parkinsonalliance.org/donatenow/general-donation/
- Congregation Beth David: Social Action Fund
10180 Los Osos Valley Road, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405