Home > 2015 Annual Report



Opening remarks from Board Chair Jason Stewart

JasonSThe numbers are staggering. Lung disease is now the second leading cause of death in the United States. The World Health Organization now reports that air pollution is responsible for one in eight deaths globally. In the Bay Area, it’s estimated that one in eight children have asthma. Fortunately, many of these cases are preventable, but it takes a joint effort and a comprehensive approach. At Breathe California, we believe that together, through empowered communities, we can eliminate the burden of lung disease once and for all.

On behalf of the entire Board of Directors and our amazing staff, I would like to thank all of you – our donors, volunteers, and partners – for your vital assistance in helping Breathe California serve the Bay Area during fiscal year 2014-15. From advocating for stronger tobacco and air quality policies, to helping people gain the skills and confidence they need to manage their asthma or COPD, we continue to work to both prevent lung disease from taking hold and to assist those currently living with lung disease in improving their quality of life. Without the generosity of individuals like you, along with local businesses, government agencies, and corporate partners, we could not do this essential work that we do in the community.

As we look father into our 107th year, we are excited about new transitions and opportunities. This fall we will relocate our Central Office back to San Francisco, where we were founded in 1908. The new office is centrally located to more of the communities we serve, will lighten our ecological footprint, is closer to public transportation, and will enable a greener, redesigned workspace. We are also thrilled to announce that Dr. Tanya Stevenson has been named Breathe California’s next President & CEO, beginning October 1, 2015. As Linda Civitello prepares to step down after 21 years of Bay Area lung health leadership, we extend our most sincere gratitude and congratulations for her tremendous contributions and wish her a peaceful retirement.

Jason Stewart

Jason B. Stewart, CIMA, Board Chair of Breathe California Golden Gate

Board of Directors

Jason Stewart, CIMA, Chair
Marc Ussini, MS – Immediate Past Chair
Judy Ng, CPA – Treasurer
Peg Strub, MD – Secretary
Alexander Ding, M.D., M.S.
Katherine Hsia-Kiung
Joshua Lipp, JD
Rohan Shamapant
Joseph Quan
Howard Simon, JD, MBA
Eve Brothers, MBA, CTP, CPA
Kam Mendez-Todd
George Su, MD
Tanya Wilkins, MBA
Brian M. Daniel, RCP, RRT
Courtney Austermehle


Linda Civitello, MA, CFRE – President & CEO
Karen Licavoli-Farnkopf, MPH – Vice President of Programs
Tanya Stevenson, EdD, MPH – Vice President, Institutional Advancement
Elias Trevino – Vice President of Operations
MariaElena Alioto, AE-C – Asthma Educator
Jelissa Parham, MPH – Tobacco Services Coordinator
Christopher O. Ndubuizu, MPH – E-Cigarette Control Advocacy Coordinator
Alexandra Elliot – Development and Events Manager
Ayşe Gürsöz – Communications Director
Audrey Abadilla – Program and Management Associate
Brian Sawyer – Webmaster, Admin. & Communications Assistant
Karen Cleek, CPA – Consultant, Accounting Manager

Our Mission

Breathe California fights lung disease, advocates for clean air, and promotes health equity through grassroots education, advocacy and direct services.

Starting out as the San Francisco Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis in 1908, Breathe California continues to reduce the impact of lung disease in the Bay Area and beyond.


For many, it takes more than just will power to quit smoking. “Mike” began smoking in high school. He had tried to stop smoking several times, but it was twenty-two years before he found the right reason to quit. When he and his girlfriend (now wife) decided to have a baby, their doctor strongly recommended cessation. Mike had heard of Breathe California, so he did some quick research, discovered Ash Kickers, and he and his girlfriend enrolled. Today, Mike and his wife have been smoke free for over five years!

Once he quit for good, Mike noticed that he didn’t get winded as quickly, his senses of smell and taste returned, and his clothes stopped smelling of heavy smoke. “It’s amazing that when you’re a smoker you don’t smell it,” Mike says, “But now when I get in the elevator with a smoker, I think, ‘Oh, I used to smell like that – and they don’t realize that they do’.”

The desire to start a family is the spark that ignited Mike’s drive to truly eliminate cigarettes from his life. He was able to see where his life was headed as a smoker, and he didn’t like it. And Ash Kickers provided him with the support he needed to follow through. Read more of Mike’s story.

Thank you Linda!

Linda Civitello, MA, CFREPresident & CEO Linda Civitello, MA, CFRE, retires after a remarkable career of 21 years of continuous service protecting lung health through Breathe California’s comprehensive services, programs and advocacy.  We wish her a relaxing and enjoyable retirement! Under Linda’s leadership, Breathe California has been critical in establishing strong tobacco control policies in multiple counties, including SF’s first smoke-free workplace ordinance that predated similar state laws.  Read more.

2014-2015 Program Highlights

Asthma Education & Management

FACT: Asthma is the #1 cause of school absenteeism in the United States. 1 in 6 children in some Bay Area neighborhoods are estimated to have asthma.

In 2014-15 Breathe California:

  • Conducted 31 asthma education and management trainings* in English and Spanish with over 300 parents, child care providers and preschool teachers; those participants are responsible for the care of over 5,000 children
  • Chaired the San Mateo County Asthma Coalition
  • Served on the Steering Committee of California Asthma Partners, a statewide asthma coalition

*All About Asthma trainings are offered to those who care for children ages 0-5 so they can recognize signs and symptoms of asthma, eliminate asthma triggers from the children’s environment, and identify steps to take in an asthma emergency.

Tobacco Control & Cessation

FACT: Every year cigarette smoking is responsible for nearly 500,000 deaths in the US, including 40,000 children and non-smokers. 5.6 million of today’s youth are projected to die prematurely from a smoking-related illness.

In 2014-15 Breathe California:

  • Reached 850 San Francisco high school students at 17 schoolswith tobacco awareness presentations and smoking cessation workshops for 29 quit groups
  • Conducted 24 Ash Kickers adult smoking cessation classes (6 sessions/class) for 350 individuals. We are proud of the successful55% quit rate and 45% reduction rate achieved at 12 sites throughout San Mateo County!
  • Offered cessation program outreach to over 400 San Mateo County health providers
  • Advocated to over 130 individual policy makers and 4 city councils, urging them to consider a smoke-free multi-unit housing policy for their jurisdiction
  • Co-chaired the San Francisco Tobacco Free Coalition and Chaired the San Mateo County Tobacco Education Coalition
  • With funding from the San Francisco Department of Public Health, trained six health educators to advocate and help lay the groundwork to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products at retail stores in San Francisco

Air Quality & Environmental Advocacy

FACT: 95% of Californians live in areas that do not meet healthy air quality standards.

Cleaner-air-in-Bay-Area-communitiesIn 2014-15 Breathe California:

  • Advocated for cleaner air at over 200 meetings with California State Assembly and Senate staff
  • Helped advance legislation to clean up California’s highest-polluting sources of energy
  • Proudly advocated for clean air and environmental health as members of statewide coalitions, including: California Delivers, Green CA, CA Clean Freight Coalition, California Active Transportation Leadership Coalition, and more!


FACT: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is the 3rd leading and fastest rising cause of death in the US.

In 2014-15 Breathe California:

  • Offered Better Breathing courses through our partners at San Francisco General Hospital to over 50 people with COPD to help improve their quality of life
  • Served as a COPD referral source for nine northern California counties

Community Health Education

    • In 2014-2015 Breathe California reached over 10,000 community members at Bay Area health fairs.
    • Empowered and engaged over a dozen young film makers in the development of films focused on environmental and lung health which were screened at our 4th Annual Clear the Air Film Fest
    • Honored nine innovative individuals and organizations in the categories of Climate Change Mitigation, Education, Green Buildings, Leadership, Public Awareness, Research and Transportationat our 25th Annual Clean Air Awards
  • Provided lung health outreach and awareness to over 400 riders and over 150 volunteers during our 23rd Annual Bike 4 Breath charity ride


Since its inception in 1908, Breathe California has dedicated a portion of its funds to lung health research.

In addition, in 2014-15 Breathe California:

  • Provided five grants to local lung health scientists, one respiratory student scholarship, and two public health research internships.

Public Health Research Interns

Robyn Lee
Robyn Lee
In June 2015, Robyn Lee joined the Breathe California team as a Public Health Research and Evaluation Intern to evaluate Breathe California’s asthma and tobacco cessation programs. In addition to other projects, Robyn completed an evaluation of the last three years of Breathe CA’s Ash Kicker’s smoking cessation program, concluding with our first ever comprehensive program report. In the fall of 2015, Robyn began her second year as a Master of Public Health candidate at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health with a concentration in Environmental Health Science and a certificate in Toxicology. Learn more about our Public Health Research Internship Program and More about Robyn.
Christine Vang
Christine Vang
During the summer of 2015, Christine Vang served as Breathe California’s Public Health Research and Marketing Intern, identifying market trends and engaging in stakeholder interviews. Christine is currently pursuing her Master of Public Health degree at Fresno State University where she also serves as a member of Fresno State’s Master of Public Health Advisory Board. Christine completed a full market analysis to help identify the lung health related programs and services in Breathe California’s nine county catchment area, as well as researched funding trends and potential marketing strategies. Learn more about our Public Health Research Internship Program and More about Christine.

2014-2015 Annual Events

Together, we raised over $170,000 from all our events, helping us continue to fight lung disease, promote clean air, and provide needed support for our services in the community.

Bike 4 Breath

July 12, 2014 – Coyote Point Park – San Mateo

410 registered riders cycled between 10 and 62 miles, aided by over 100 volunteers, in support of Breathe California’s local lung health programs. This year’s top fundraisers were:

  • Individual:  Barbara Gicquel – $5,000.00
  • Team:  Golden Gate Onboard – $7,494.00
  • Individual under 18:  Sophia Lipp – $1,863.00
  • Largest Friend/Family Team:  Team Abuelo – 23 registrants
  • Largest Corporate Team:  Team InterMune – 21 registrants + 6 volunteers


Clear the Air Film Fest

March 15, 2015 – New People Cinema – San Francisco

Set in motion to empower youth and community members to become advocates for a better future, our Clear the Air Film Fest invites high school and college students as well as youth-focused community organizations from around the Bay to create short films promoting lung health and clean air.

2015 Winners

  • Youth Category: “Hydropower and How it Can Help Reduce Climate Change”
  • College Category: “Keystone XL: Continuing the Fight”
  • General Public Category: “Our Power in Full Force”

View all the winners’ and finalists’ videos on our CTAFF YouTube Channel.


Clean Air Awards

May 21, 2015 – The Westin St. Francis – San Francisco

In its landmark 25th year, Breathe California’s 2015 Clean Air Awards brought together over 200 Bay Area leaders committed to addressing the biggest issues of our times.   We were honored to have Deborah O. Raphael, Director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment (SF Environment) as our Keynote Speaker and Mike Sugerman, KPIX 5 and KCBS Radio reporter as Master of Ceremonies.

Nine individuals and organizations were recognized for their positive impact on air quality through their leadership and advances in technology, research, and education:
Climate Change Mitigation – Environmental Defense Fund
Education – ECO2school Program, Center for Climate Protection
Green Buildings – Hewlett Packard
Leadership – Supervisor John Gioia, Contra Costa County
Public Awareness – Experience Electric / MTC & BAAQMD
Research – Dr. Mehrdad Arjomandi
Transportation – TransForm
Honorable Mentions – Green Ninja, San Jose State University; Santa Clara University


Watch for our 2016 Events

Saturday, March 5, 2016:
TBD 2016:
26th annual Clean Air Awards Luncheon
July 9, 2016:
25th annual Bike 4 Breath Charity Ride
November 2016:
Annual VIP Party

Special Thanks

Without the tremendous dedication of our volunteers, interns and community partners, we would not be able to continue our life-saving work in the Bay Area and beyond. We want to acknowledge all of your vital contributions over the past year. Here are some of Breathe California’s star supporters:

Nima Jamae
Nima Jamae

Volunteer of the Year

Nima Jamae joined us from San Francisco State as a Communications and Special Events intern.  He served as an integral part of Bike 4 Breath, helping with outreach and logistics.  Nima's help has been invaluable in keeping things running smoothly.  Thanks, Nima!
Dr. Neel Patel
Dr. Neel Patel

Community Partner of the Year

Despite his very busy schedule, Dr. Neel Patel has gone above and beyond in bridging Breathe California’s All About Asthma with the Fair Oaks Pediatric Clinic. Thank you, Dr. Patel for caring about your patients and ensuring your community receives the best care and education out there!
Joshua Lipp
Joshua Lipp

Board Member of the Year

Joshua Lipp first got involved with Breathe California in 2008 through our annual Bike 4 Breath, after his father lost his battle to lung cancer. Shortly after, Joshua got his whole family involved in the ride and joined the Board of Directors in 2012. Thank you Josh, for your service and leadership! You are an inspiration!

Breathe California Volunteers — July 2014 to June 2015

Superstar Volunteers at Bike 4 Breath

Thank you for your extraordinary support!
Learn about our great upcoming volunteer opportunities here.

Wanda Adams

Natalie Andrade

Shiva Balachander

Ara Balian

Nicole Barman

Kaylie Belk

Karina Bermudez

Vanessa Bermudez

Helen Bertron

DeMarii Blanks

Eve Brothers

Caitlin Brown

Patricia Bulawan

Deanna Cacanindin

Melissa Castillo

Connie Chiou

Patricia Chong

Lauren Chu

Allen Chung

Katherine Chung

Andrea J. Cope

Juan Cornejo

Frederick Cortes

Renee Cresci

Paul Daily

Brian M. Daniel

Kevin Demafilis

Alexander Ding

Mary Dozier

Barbara Elliott

Elizabeth Encinas

Rachel Finkbeiner

Albert Ford

Cheryl Forshee

Nelson Furtado

Erin Ginder-Shaw

Tom Goldfarb

Lynn Grigsby

David Han

Eddie Hattyar

Victor Hernandez

Katherine Hsia-Kiung

Lauren Johnston

Srivasavi Kandalam

Kothai Kumar

Robert P. Lawrence
Ida Lee

Robyn Lee

Simon Lee

Ying Lee

Claire Lindsay

Lincoln Linsmith

Joshua Lipp

Jennifer Liu

Joanne Liu

Anselmo Madrinan

Feauini Mageo

Jeff Marquis

Scot Marsters

Tito Martinez

Madu Maruthamuthu

Allison McDonald

Gabriel Medina

Mehrnaz Mehr

Vaheeshta Mehrshahi

Silvia Mejia

Bernard Menconi

Kam Mendez-Todd

Mary Mesenburg

Carl Miller

Alan Naguit

Arthur Nasalga

Judy Ng

Rory Nyffenegger

Kristen O’Shea

Marie O’Shea

Sok Oeun

James Ogg

Robert Ogg

Ayako Ota

Yukari Ota

Melissa Pedro

Sarah Phelps

Tejas Pradeep

Joseph Quan

Nisha Ramesh

Preeti Ravindhran

Vidula Reddy

Camille Restua

Brinda Romero

Virgil Sadsad
Nino Santiago

Steven Schwartz

Rohan Shamapant

Baal Shanmugam

Katherine Shi

Mercedes Silva

Ruth Silverman

Howard Simon

Mallory Souza

Kenneth Spisak

Michael Stenson

Keely Stevenson

Jason Stewart

Terry Stewart

Peg Strub

George Su

Joyce Suen

Milan Tandon

Angie Tapang

Barbara Thompson

Tim Toole

Stanley Tsang

Richard Tumaneng

Shaira Tumaneng

Diane Ullom

Marc Ussini

Christine Vang

Luisa Villarico

David Villongco

Jacob Waddles

Albert Wang

Adhiraj Watave

Meredith West

Tanya Wilkins

Rhiannan Williams

Damon Wong

Ian Woodfill

Brady Woolery

Curtis Wright

Makiko Yamaguchi

Sharon Yee

Wilson Yeung

Lakshmi Yokoyama

Jasmine Yuan

Hong Zhang


Thanks to our 2014-15 Generous Donors

We sincerely thank you for entrusting us with your gifts this past fiscal year. Your support makes it possible for us to continue promoting clean air and fighting lung disease in all its forms. View a full list of 2014-15 donors here.

Thanks to our 2014-15 Sponsors

Bay Area Air Quality Management District
Bonne Sante
Clif Bar
Fenwick & West LLP
Hint Water
Kaiser Permanente
Kettle Brand
Metropolitan Transportation Commission
Southwest Airlines
Sports Basement
Sidney Stern Memorial Trust
Timpson Garcia, LLP

Media Sponsors

KBCW - 44 Cable 12

Special Thanks to our Supporters

Thank you to the following Board Members and Staff – past and present – who made additional gifts:
Courtney Austermehle; Linda Civitello; Alexander Ding, M.D., M.S.; Andy Grose; Katherine Hsia‑Kiung; Shally Iyer, MPH, CPH; Robert P. Lawrence; Joshua and Mary Lipp; Jennifer  Mitchell; Judy Ng, CPA; Joseph Quan; Howard Simon, JD, MBA; Jason B. Stewart, CIMA; Peg Strub, MD; George Su, MD; Marc Ussini, MS; Tanya Wilkins, MBA


Putting Your Donations to Work

(for the fiscal year July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015)

80 cents of every dollar raised directly support Breathe California’s programs!

Operating Statement of Activities

Public Support$150,068
Government Contracts$219,752
Grants and Fees$60,799
Investment Income$229,972
Programs & Services (80%)$844,532
Fundraising (8%)$80,686
Management (12%)$125,132

2014-2015 Programs & Services Expenses

The most recent audit, for fiscal year ending June 30, 2015, conducted by the firm of Timpson Garcia, LLP, indicates that 80% of all expenditures were for programs and services.

Will you help us fight lung disease?

Give today – donating is easier than ever!

Thinking about leaving a legacy gift to support our work into the future?

Include Breathe California Golden Gate in your will or estate plans.
For more information on bequests, lifetime income annuities and other legacy gifts, please call 650-994-5868 or visit www.ggbreathe.org to learn more. THANK YOU!!!

Breathe California, Golden Gate Public Health Partnership
is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation (Tax ID: 94-0836760).
Your contributions are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.