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Philanthropy Friday: The Breathing Association

 Margaret Robinson, The Columbus Foundation Philanthropy Friday: The Breathing Association
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Marie E. Collart, Ph.D., is passionate about helping individuals in central Ohio breathe easier. As president and CEO of The Breathing Association, a local nonprofit focused on the prevention and treatment of lung disease, she has seen firsthand the debilitating effects summer heat has on those with lung issues.

“In this summer’s heat and humidity, it is very difficult for those with asthma, emphysema, or any lung condition to breathe,” said Ms. Collart. “It is important to provide solutions that remove the humidity so they can breathe easier.”

The Breathing Association Free Lung Health Clinic, located at 1520 Old Henderson Road, has helped hundreds of people this year.

Summer Crisis Program

Since 1988, The Breathing Association has facilitated a popular program that helps low-income seniors and individuals with medical conditions stay cool during the hot summer months. More than 10,800 free air conditioners have been distributed to those eligible through the Summer Crisis Program. The Breathing Association was the first agency in the country to provide air conditioners and electric utility assistance to households that were income eligible and had a lung health diagnosis. The program, part of the federally funded Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), became a national model of success.

“We’re helping some of the neediest people in the community,” Ms. Collart said. “We are the only nonprofit in central Ohio that provides free air conditioners to individuals who qualify. We also offer utility support to those who may have air conditioning, but aren’t able to cover their electric bill during this time of economic crisis.”

Colette Harrell, HEAP director at The Breathing Association (right), works with a Summer Crisis Program client.

Free Clinic and Medical Mobile Unit Provide Access

The Breathing Association also offers a free clinic to provide health care to individuals with lung issues, and has a medical mobile unit with the support of IMPACT Community Action Agency that routinely visits nine partner locations throughout Columbus.

According to Ms. Collart, the association is the only free specialty clinic in the state of Ohio, with a focus on lung health. The Breathing Association has seen 545 individuals in 2011 through these efforts. The staff spends more than an hour with each individual completing a full assessment of their lungs and overall health.

The Breathing Association’s medical mobile unit visits the Ohio Statehouse. Find out where the free mobile clinic stops next at http://bit.ly/mobile_schedule

How to Get Involved

The Breathing Association counts on generous donations to reach as many people as possible. One hundred percent of donations stay in central Ohio, and gifts to The Breathing Association are 100% tax deductible. Donations can be made online at www.breathingassociation.org, by phone at 614-457-4570, or through the mail at 1520 Old Henderson Road, Columbus, Ohio 43220.

“The donations we receive are critical to our success,” said Ms. Collart. “They directly help more of our friends and neighbors in need.”

For more information on The Breathing Association, visit PowerPhilanthropy®, The Columbus Foundation’s giving tool with information on nearly 600 central Ohio nonprofits, which can help you help others through the most effective philanthropy possible. Or, visit their website, www.BreathingAssociation.org. Like The Breathing Association on Facebook.

The Breathing Association’s Teresa Allton, clinical nurse practitioner and clinic director, works on a lung health diagnosis with a patient.

Philanthropy Friday is a feature series produced by The Columbus Foundation that highlights Columbus area nonprofit organizations. For more nonprofit information, follow us on Twitter at @ColsFoundation and like The Columbus Foundation on Facebook.

All images courtesy of The Breathing Association.

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