Who We Are

***Are You Passionate About the Needs of Young Children and Families! We are Seeking a Community At-Large Commissioner!***

DEADLINE TO APPLY HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO FRIDAY, MAY 24th at 5pm! Click here: At-Large Commissioner Application

First 5 is a proud leader in the collective effort to support young children, both at the state and local level. We are an independent public agency created in 1998 by California’s Proposition 10, a voter-approved initiative that added a 50-cent tax on tobacco products. This revenue provides a dedicated source of funding for programs that serve children from prenatal development through age five and their families.

From health to education to family support, our work intersects all aspects of life for children ages 0-5. Our position in the community gives us a thorough understanding of what they need in order to thrive.

Every county in California has a First 5. Each is allocated money according to birth rate, and each is governed by a local board of Commissioners.

The 58 county First 5 agencies are linked in a statewide network through the First 5 Association and First 5 California.


Dawn Ortiz-Legg, Vice Chair
Board of Supervisors, District 3
County of San Luis Obispo

Penny Borenstein MD, Chair
Chief Health Officer
Public Health Department, County of San Luis Obispo

James Brescia, Ed. D.
San Luis Obispo County Office of Education

Linda Belch
Deputy Director, Adult & Children's Services
Department of Social Services, County of San Luis Obispo

Erica Ruvalcaba-Heredia
Representative At Large
Independent Consultant
Executive Director, Corazon Latino

Patty Clarkson, Ed., D.
Director, Cal Poly Early Care & Ed Strategic Initiatives
Child Care Planning Council of San Luis Obispo County

James Tedford, MD
Pediatrician (Retired)
Patterson and Tedford Pediatrics
American Academy of Pediatrics

Alison Ventura, PhD
Faculty, Kinesiology and Public Health
Cal Poly State University

Bob Watt
Principal (Retired)
Cambria Grammar School, Coast Unified School District


Wendy Wendt, Executive Director

Jason Wells, Associate Director

Misty Livengood, Communications Coordinator

First 5 Staff