Our Story


The New Breath Foundation was founded 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 for a combined 21 years, 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 in the SF Bay Area and nationally.

As a Program Director, Co-Director, and Board member of multiple non-profit agencies, Eddy understands the funding and sustainability challenges that face many non-profits. That is why Eddy founded the New Breath Foundation, which has the potential to cultivate a new community of donors and philanthropic partners. Guided by Eddy’s unique experiences and leadership qualities, the New Breath Foundation seeks to transform individuals, communities, and philanthropy.


WHY now…

Many low-income Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) immigrants and refugees face stigma, shame, and extreme challenges in the U.S.:

  • During the prison boom of the 1990s, the AAPI prisoner population grew by 250%

  • There is a rampant rise of criminalization and deportations of AAPIs and other immigrants

  • Due to language and cultural barriers, AAPIs often face disparities in legal proceedings

  • National foundations give less than 0.5% towards AAPI communities