David Lewis: 20 Years of Impact and the Future of our Bay

San Francisco Mayor London Breed, David Lewis, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo

“David Lewis is a pioneer of our environment…” San Francisco Mayor London Breed

“David Lewis has the tenacity, political savvy, and passion that leads to progress…” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo

“David Lewis wouldn’t give up until he got every last vote…” Felicia Madsen, Save The Bay Action Fund Board Director

These are just a few of the accolades that were shared about David Lewis, who last week celebrated his 20th anniversary as Executive Director of Save The Bay, at Delancey Street Foundation in San Francisco. Hundreds of elected officials, advocates, volunteers, and supporters gathered to toast one of the region’s top environmental advocates.

David Lewis celebrating his 20 years of impact

David insisted he and Save The Bay aren’t satisfied with past victories, but inspired to take on new challenges facing the Bay, including existential threats to Bay Area communities from climate change.

David noted climate impacts originally predicted for the middle of this century are happening now, all over the globe, and in the Bay:

  • More extreme droughts and floods, more powerful rainstorms and forest fires – killing people and wildlife.
  • Sea level rise and thermal expansion of the ocean shrinking beaches and marshes.
  • The San Francisco Embarcadero, which never used to flood – now floods several times a year during King Tides. Within a decade, it could flood monthly.

And yet, most days, climate change isn’t even the top story. Our planet’s survival is competing with the news cycle of the day and often the situation feels depressing, exhausting and dire. But… change is possible.

Save The Bay has faced long odds before, and won. That’s what we do! But making big changes will require more than just good policy positions or fun events.  Change requires action and that takes power.

Save The Bay Action Fund Board of Directors

That is why we created Save The Bay Action Fund – because making big changes requires direct advocacy in city halls and the state capitol, joining with allies from organized labor, business, and environmental justice.  We need to mobilize everyone in the Bay Area to get more involved and vote… every election.  David called on each of us to be bold, not timid – to do more, not less.  If we all do our part, our combined strength and energy will ensure the Bay and Bay Area are resilient in the decades ahead.

Congratulations, David, on 20 years of impact for San Francisco Bay.  Here’s to the next 20!

P.S.  Learn more about Save The Bay Action Fund by visiting sfbayactionfund.org.

Dedicated Teacher Takes Flight with Save The Bay: Introducing Jeff Sandler

Jeff Sandler: local teacher and Alaska Airlines tickets prize-winner!

“Is this legit? Really? Is this all… kosher?”

Like any gifted scientist, Jeff Sandler views great results with even greater skepticism.

He’d won our Alaska Airlines prize after making his first-ever $250 donation to Save The Bay? A local teacher who regularly brings students to our SEED programs?

Jeff worried it was all a fix – too good a story to be true. Two round-trip airline tickets to anywhere they fly with no restrictions – a dream prize!

Students gathering mulch to protect new transplants

My team stressed: he’d won it fair and square.

A computer pulled Jeff’s name at random, but we at Save The Bay must admit: we’re happy for him.

Jeff, after all, has taken students from The Berkeley School to our restoration sites for the last five years.

Through generous gifts, Save The Bay makes outdoor education a reality for thousands of young people every year.

Jeff loves the sense of purpose Save The Bay programs provides his classes as they connect with local wetlands. “There’s always a goal for each day – mulch this section, remove this invasive plant.” Jeff says the hands-on activities truly stick. “I’m always thrilled at how much they remember trip to trip – details about estuaries and watersheds.”

Save The Bay programs help connect students to local wetlands

Trash is just one topic his students mull over long after they’ve helped clean up the shoreline. “When they see that a lot of that is food wrappers from sewers – it stays with them. Plus, I can take that and go off on a tangent about harmful plastic!”

By donating today, you can help Save The Bay address San Francisco Bay’s most pressing environmental issues in memorable ways for students.

Jeff, meanwhile, is planning a trip somewhere tropical. “My wife just got her scuba diving certification, so I want to take her somewhere warm for her first dive!”

We’re wishing Jeff, his wife, and our caring community a safe and happy New Year.

P.S. Save The Bay and Alaska Airlines have teamed up to make your vacation dreams a reality this holiday season. When you donate at least $250*, you’ll be automatically entered into a drawing to win four round-trip airline tickets to anywhere they fly! Your generous support will help us meet our $100,000 goal and protect the Bay we love. Thank you.

(*Terms and conditions apply, see details.)


Bay Be Blue – Bringing the Bay to Life


When you are the Chief Development Officer of a non-profit organization, you are always looking for special ways to bring the mission of your organization to life and inspire support from a diverse community of individuals.  Five months ago, our team had the wild and wonderful idea to charter a boat and bring hundreds of Bay supporters out on the water – together with Save The Bay experts – to experience the Bay’s majesty up close.

On Saturday, April 22nd (Earth Day!) our vision came to life. Blue, an inaugural Bay cruise to benefit Save The Bay, was an extraordinary event that brought together individuals of all ages and backgrounds, uniting them in their love and appreciation for the Bay.  Don’t just take my word for it: check out the beautiful photos of the evening captured by Bay photographer Mike Oria for a taste of the immersive experience had by all who attended.

Our Blue guests came from all over the Bay Area. There are many reasons why local residents care about San Francisco Bay, and whether we realize it or not, the Bay is a part of all of our lives, every day.

For scientists, like the Chair of Save The Bay’s Board of Directors Dr. Sam Luoma, the Bay is a wild ecosystem that is teeming with plant and animal life. It’s a place of fragility and beauty that needs protecting for future generations.

Some of our guests care about San Francisco Bay because they are responsible for conceiving of and implementing the policy framework that supports a resilient Bay. Thank you to Supervisor Dave Pine, Chair of the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority, for joining us at Blue and representing elected officials who work vigilantly to uphold pro-Bay policies and legislation.

For gardeners and outdoor enthusiasts, like Mary Hufty and Karen Gilhuly from the Garden Clubs of America, the Bay shoreline is where they tune out the pressures of daily life by partnering with Save The Bay to plant native plants and clean up trash. Blue was a chance to celebrate their love of the place they dedicate so much time to restoring.

For the Bay Area business community, the Bay serves as a stunning backdrop for world class companies, and we were delighted to welcome guests from Facebook, Salesforce, and eBay to name a few.

For sports fans, the Bay provides the nation’s best backdrop during a hometown San Francisco Giants baseball game. I am so grateful to the Giants for sponsoring Blue, just one of many ways they contribute to improving local Bay Area communities.

OR, maybe you’re like me – drawn to this magnificent estuary for reasons you can’t quite explain but you know are innate and powerful.  Many studies suggest that spending time by water has positive effects on health and well-being (and who couldn’t use a little stress relief these days?).

Whatever your motivation is for getting involved with Save The Bay, I am truly grateful to the community of individuals who joined us at our very first Blue event. Our sell-out crowd was a stirring tribute to San Francisco Bay: our greatest natural treasure and the heart of what makes our region so special.  Thank you to our supporters for making the inaugural Blue event a tremendous success.  See you next year!

Why I Will March 

I will participate in the Women's March in Oakland on Saturday, Jan. 21 not just for Save The Bay, but for all of my values and all of the communities that I hold dear.
I will participate in the Women’s March in Oakland on Saturday, Jan. 21 not just for Save The Bay, but for all of my values and all of the communities that I hold dear.

I distinctly remember my first protest march.  My school’s soccer team was supposed to play the Columbine soccer team the day of the now-infamous mass shooting.  The NRA’s annual convention was slated to be held in downtown Denver days after the shooting took place.  They did not cancel their convention out of respect for the victims, as many had hoped they would.

So, we marched.  We circled their hotel, holding hands, singing songs, and crying.  I was 17 years old.

My next protest march took place in downtown Boston.  Under the leadership of George W. Bush, the U.S. had just invaded Iraq.  As a graduating senior with a degree in modern political history, I was bursting with ideas and passion.  After all, I had just learned how world wars were started – power games between state and non-state actors, alliances, domino effects.  My friends and I were convinced the invasion was a mistake, and while we didn’t know it at the time, we would end up being right.

So, we marched.

A year or so later, now freshly ensconced in the progressive Bay Area, a friend asked if I wanted to join something called the March for Women’s Lives in Washington, D.C.  Women’s equality, fair pay, and reproductive freedom have always been cornerstone values for me, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to join with thousands of others in celebrating and advancing them.  And so, ignoring the hordes of anti-choice protesters holding graphic signs, we marched.  That march changed my life and led me to work professionally on women’s reproductive health issues for nearly a decade.

 you cannot isolate reproductive freedom from environmental justice, racial inequity from economic achievement, or education from poverty.” 


Now it is 2017, and I am no longer a fresh-faced teenager or an idealistic college student.  I’m a mother, a wife, and a leader at a respected environmental organization.  I am much more aware of my privilege, which has influenced in uncountable ways the opportunities I have been given and successes I have achieved.  I am acutely attuned to the connectivity of privilege, and how you cannot isolate reproductive freedom from environmental justice, racial inequity from economic achievement, or education from poverty.  These issues are inextricably linked – to march for one value means marching for them all.

And so, this Saturday, Jan. 21, I will march in Oakland, this time joined by my husband and our two-year-old son.  I will march for women’s reproductive justice and equality. I will march because Black Lives Matter, and I cannot escape nor deny my own white privilege or that of my son’s. I will march against climate change deniers because facts are facts, and in the coastal Bay Area we are on the front lines of this battle.  I will march for peace around the world and in the streets of Oakland, the city I now call home. I will march for my friends and family members who don’t conform to typical gender roles and should have the same freedom to follow their hearts and love who they love.  I will march for immigrants because less than two generations ago it was my grandmother on the boat far from her home seeking a better life.

I will represent Save The Bay at this march, but not just Save The Bay.  When I march on Saturday, I will be marching for all of my values and all of the communities that I hold dear.

I hope you will march with me.