Our Story


The New Breath Foundation was founded in 2017 by Eddy Zheng, the first formerly incarcerated “juvenile lifer” to serve as Founder/President of a philanthropic Foundation. Eddy, who experienced the “school to prison to deportation pipeline”, is in a prime position to address issues of trauma, stigma, and shame in the AAPI community.

While in state prison and immigration jails, Eddy transformed his life and made significant contributions, including counseling at-risk youth, creating an Ethnic Studies program, and co-editing a book, Other: An Asian and Pacific Islander Prisoners’ Anthology. Upon his release, Eddy led youth development, violence prevention, and cross-cultural building activities and strategies in the SF Bay Area and nationally. He dedicates himself to fighting for others who face the injustices he witnessed in prison, getting educated on systemic racism and discrimination while also focusing on healing from trauma. 

During his tenure as a key leader in multiple non-profit and city agencies, Eddy grew to understand the key challenges facing many non-profits and AAPI communities:   

  • Grassroots and movement-building organizations directly working to challenge AAPI violence, incarceration, and deportation are under-resourced and often invisible. National foundations give less than 1% towards AAPI communities (Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy).

  • “Asians and Others” are imprisoned at 3 times the rate as compared to the White population (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2017).

  • Since 1998, over 15,000 Southeast Asians received final orders of deportation. In the past year, there has been a 279% increase in the number of Cambodians deported (Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 2019).

  • 60% of AAPI women and girls have experienced some form of sexual or domestic abuse (AAPI Women Lead).

In response to these obstacles, the New Breath Foundation was formed to transform individuals, communities, and philanthropy.