Who We Are

Breathe California Sacramento Region is more than a nonprofit dedicated to improving lung health in California. Breathe is a team of people whose mission revolves around better air for all, cleaner transportation for those who need it most, and increased education in all things healthy lungs related.

Breathe is committed to our communities and the people who breathe Sacramento air every day. We strive to create a future of tobacco-free youth, clean transportation, electric cars for all, and pedestrian-friendly land use. We love getting to know our communities so reach out to us with any questions or for the opportunity to volunteer. Let’s help Sacramento Breathe Clean!


Thanks to the support of volunteers and generous financial donations from a community that values a better quality of life for everyone, Breathe is one of the oldest and most active nonprofit agencies in the Sacramento area.

1917 – 1970s

When the Sacramento Society for the Prevention and Cure of Tuberculosis was established in December 1917, tuberculosis was killing one in five Americans, making it the leading cause of death in the United States. Between 1917 and the mid-1960s, the agency implemented community awareness and education programs, set up a free tuberculosis clinic and created a well-baby clinic. The agency also established a summer camp for undernourished children, piloted a school nutrition program, instituted a free dental clinic for children and handled mass X-ray screenings.

Three seminal events took place in the ‘60s and early ‘70s that led the organization to change its focus:

  1. TB incidents were dramatically reduced. This decrease in incidents paved the way to focus on other lung diseases.
  2. The Surgeon General’s announcement in 1964 that tobacco use causes lung cancer and is the major cause of chronic bronchitis. Any serious effort to reduce lung disease would now have to incorporate reducing tobacco use.
  3. Environmental awareness increased as well as focus on air pollution and the environment’s relation to health issues.

1970s – 2000s

Starting in the 1970s, the local group initiated three unique programs to reduce tobacco use. Efforts were aimed at discouraging tobacco use among young people, supporting smokers in their efforts to quit, and protecting nonsmokers. These initiatives yielded a number of acclaimed projects including the passage of Proposition 99, a tobacco tax increase that funds prevention programs and ordinances prohibiting smoking in public spaces.

The efforts of Breathe and many environmental groups also were instrumental in the passing of the Clean Air Initiative. Among other advances, the Clean Air Initiative provided funding for transit programs, which ultimately brought light-rail transit to the capitol region. In addition, other programs dealing with agricultural burning, automobile maintenance, and land-use and transportation helped to reduce air pollution.

Breathe Today

Today, Breathe California Sacramento Region continues to further develop and enhance programs and form coalitions that directly affect respiratory health and lung disease. The organization sees a future of clean air and healthy lungs and is working diligently to ensure that vision.

While our organization has changed its name many times over the past century, we have always been dedicated to improving lung health in our local community.

For a number of years, Breathe California Sacramento Region was affiliated with the American Lung Association (ALA) and the American Lung Association of California (ALAC). In 2006, Breathe California Sacramento Region ended its affiliation with the ALA and the ALAC and is no longer affiliated in any way with those organizations. Breathe continues its mission dedicated to clean air, healthy lungs and preventing lung disease and other air-pollution related diseases. By partnering with local young people to makes changes in the community, advocating public policy, supporting air pollution research, and educating the public Breathe continues to make a positive impact in the Sacramento region.