Breathe California of the Bay Area (San Jose, CA)


  • Name:Margo Sidener
  • Title:Board Member

Organization Address

  • Organization Name:Breathe California of the Bay Area
  • Address:1469 Park Avenue
    San Jose, CA 95126
    United States

Organization Phone

  • Main phone:316-247-9255
  • Main fax:408-998-0578

Organization Web

User Email


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  • Mission:
  • Mission: As the local lung health leader, Breathe California of the Bay Area fights lung disease in all its forms and works with its communities to promote lung health.

    Vision: Healthy lungs in Healthy Environments.

    Values: Leadership through passion, integrity, excellence, accountability, and fiscal/social responsibility.

    Strategic Goals:
    Goal Area I: Clean Air: Be the citizen guardians of air quality.
    GOAL AREA II: Tobacco Free Communities: Demand a tobacco free future/Eliminate Tobacco Use in our Community.
    Goal Area III: Lung Disease, including Asthma: Take a front-line role, ensuring prevention services and optimal treatments are available to our community, and advancing research.
    Goal Area IV: Public Information and Public Policy: Increase the ability of BCBA to implement public information campaigns and policy initiatives to prevent Lung Disease.

    Programs are prevention-focused, evidence-based, and strive to counter social determinants of health.

  • Overview:
  • Breathe California of the Bay Area (Breathe CA), located in San Jose, California, is a 104-year-old grassroots, community-based, voluntary 501(c)3 nonprofit that is committed to achieving clean air and healthy lungs. Breathe CA serves Santa Clara, Alameda, and San Benito Counties in the San Francisco Bay region of California. Founded in San Jose in 1911, originally to fight tuberculosis, it has broadened mission and changed names several times over its century of service.

    Breathe CA helped to build the local Public Health Department and was the first to deliver health education services in local schools (1940s). Its key roles have been to establish tobacco-free communities, achieve healthy air quality, and fight lung disease such as TB, asthma, influenza, and COPD. With almost 800 volunteers and 8 staff, the agency serves over 100,000 individuals per year with programs in the areas of education, public policy initiatives, research, and patient services. (The agency has accomplished its overly ambitious goals due to its large volunteer base and the dedicated services of 10 to 15 interns annually. It has trained many of the community's public health professionals.)

    Breathe CA reaches another three million through diverse media including its weekly television show, social media, an informational website, and various print and broadcast media campaigns.

    Services include: multi-week course for children with asthma delivered on-site at elementary schools; parents training and support group; COPD support groups; lung screenings; provision of respiratory therapy equipment to the needy; summer asthma camp for children; education for physicians, nurses, allied health personnel, and teachers; special programming for seniors; home visits for education and environmental assessments; information/referral service; speakers’ bureau; clean air advocacy and promotion of advanced vehicles and alternative fuels; smoking prevention and cessation programs for all ages; Secondhand Smoke Helpline; resource library; and funded research.

    Because lung disease impacts minority and poor communities disproportionately, Breathe CA works to build capacity and end disparities in these populations. The agency is most proud of the national 2002 Bernard V. Gregory Award, recognizing its outstanding commitment to the promotion of cultural diversity.

    Over the decades it has become more and more clear that we accomplish the greatest good, the most efficiently, at the least cost, when we work in partnership with other organizations. Although we are highly visible in our community, delivering our own direct services, we have evolved into a highly collaborative agency that frequently provides the training and technical assistance for others who deliver direct services to reach our most vulnerable populations. To this aim, Breathe CA has developed solid relationships with ethnic community-based organizations, schools in low-SES communities, community clinics, faith-based groups, and other key decision-makers. Breathe CA has founded four formal coalitions and has led numerous task forces .

    We believe the most significant impact on people's lives takes place through local interaction. Through education, policy advocacy, cutting-edge research and patient services, we use a comprehensive approach to promote healthy lifestyles and reduce the impact of lung disease. With a committed core of volunteers and staff who hold hope, determination, action and vigilance as the cornerstones to creating change, we will continue our drive to ensure we can all breathe easier.

    Accomplishments that bring pride to agency:
    Lung Disease
    •1st agency to bring health education curricula into local classrooms (1940s)
    •one of 1st curricula for asthmatic children (1981), used nationwide many years
    •one of oldest-running patient support groups, equipment provision programs and patient education programs in U.S. (1970s)
    • founded/chair 1 of only 3 community TB coalitions in the US

    Clean Air
    •led project for 1st electric school bus (2014)
    • key to passing groundbreaking local transportation policies & environmental protections (such as wood burning restrictions)
    • developed 1st/only secondhand smoke help line in U.S. (1991, still going)
    • won 1st local ordinance in U.S. to protect against secondhand smoke (1974)

    Tobbaco-Free Communities
    •C.L.A.S.P. peer-led tobacco prevention program among the first nationally-recommended models
    •Developed Smokeless Saturday classes innovative “diversion” program for minors cited for tobacco possession
    • first anti-tobacco program for highest risk teens (i.e. homeless/ incarcerated)
    • among first/only in US to develop specific Spanish, teen and senior cessation programs
    •first locally to bring cessation classes to the workplace
    • collected more signatures than any local agency for Proposition 99, which resulted in 33% reduction in CA smoking rates (1988)

  • History:
  • On March 21, 1911, at a meeting on the campus of what is now San Jose State University, eleven community leaders assembled to found our agency. As the local anti-tuberculosis association, the agency spent its first several decades fighting TB… for which there was no cure… by promoting good health, hygiene and nutrition at schools and to the general public, by founding a preventorium for children not yet diagnosed whose families had TB and were in special hospitals known as sanitoria, and by raising money and mobilizing the community to conduct research, screen for case finding, and develop an infrastructure for public health (health department) that would halt the spread of TB.

    Our founders included three physicians, a minister, a judge, and six prominent women who were active in social programs to assist the needy. They would engage citizens from every walk of life in this work over the coming decades. From community leaders, to Girl Scouts, school clubs, and even prisoners, everyone would join to fight the “white plague.” This community action model continues today through the agency’s collaborative, partnership-focused model of working.

    By the 1950s and 1960s when first streptomycin and later additional antibiotic drugs were developed to fight TB, our agency had advanced mobile screening programs for TB, funded equipment for the County Hospital, and concentrated on high-risk populations in nursing homes, jails, and poverty areas. It had also begun offering programs to train professionals about other lung diseases, to provide education and support for patients who had COPD, and to promote general health education in its communities.

    The last half of our first century has been spent fighting ALL lung disease and its major causes---tobacco use and air pollution. Over this half century its work would broaden further, with major areas of emphasis including:
    •teach kids how to manage their asthma
    •prevent teens from using tobacco
    •assist smokers who want to quit
    •offer support to local COPD & lung cancer patients
    •advocate for clean air policies; and
    •support innovative lung disease research.

    In the 1970s and 1980s we advocated heavily for air quality protections and were responsible for improving highway plans and introducing smog checks locally. We also began a number of patient education and support services which continue to this day: Parents of Asthmatic Children support groups; Camp Superstuff asthma camp; Better Breathers Club support group for chronic lung disease patients; and Breathing Improvement Classes for pulmonary rehabilitation. In the 1980s we were the first to offer smoking cessation classes in the workplace and at schools, and conducted special cessation programs for pregnant women. We developed a peer mentor program in conjunction with Stanford University under an NIH grant that became a nationwide model for tobacco prevention: CLASP Counseling Leadership Against Smoking Pressures.

    As the first group in the US to push for ordinances to protect “nonsmokers rights," winning the first such ordinances in Los Altos and Santa Clara County in the 1970s, Breathe CA continued city by city promoting multiple “rounds” of increasingly stringent ordinances. Leading the call for protection from outdoor smoking, such as the landmark San Jose parks ordinance, and multi-unit housing protection such as the landmark Santa Clara County ordinance, Breathe CA continues to support initiatives to raise tobacco taxes, license tobacco retailers, and prevent youth access.

    In the 1990s many new programs were added: EPA’s Tools for Schools inspections/remediation of respiratory hazards in schools, asthma classes in schools, Quit the Hits cessation program for highest-risk teens, Project Unity anti-tobacco program for African Americans, Mind the Gap College tobacco program, Drive-through Flu Clinics, and Smokeless Saturday School for minors cited for tobacco possession & their parents.

    This last decade brought Seniors Breathe Easy, home inspections, provision of sleep apnea equipment, Youth for a Cool Earth environmental peers, Community Connections tobacco control for priority populations, coordination of the Silicon Valley Clean Cities Coalition for promotion of alternatively fueled vehicles, …and the founding of the Tuberculosis Prevention Partnership…coming full circle from our beginning.

    A century of names...
    (1911-1920) Known as the Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis, Santa Clara Anti Tuberculosis Association(or Society)

    (1920-1960) Incorporated in 1948 as Santa Clara County (S. C. Co.) Tuberculosis Association

    (1960-1970) S. C. Co. Tuberculosis and Health Association (added San Benito County in 1967
    (1970 - 1973) TB & Respiratory Disease Association of Santa Clara - San Benito Counties (S. B. Co.)

    (1973 - 2006) American Lung Association of SC-SB Counties

    (2006 - present) Breathe California of the Bay Area

  • Year established:1911
  • Endowment:Unknown


  • Executive / Trustee board size:15
  • Advisory board size:
  • Staff size:8


  • Organization type:Grantseeker
  • Country of registration:United States
  • Tax Determination Letter:Received Determination Letter
  • IRS Section:501(c)(3)
  • IRS Subsection:509(a)(1)
  • Tax ID: