Wheels for Ideals

TCE Blog
Robin Schneider, Executive Director

Texas Campaign for the Environment was started 25 years ago this month! With the backing of hundreds of thousands of people like you, TCE has fought and won lots of battles over the years. With a quarter century of battles under our belt, we know what our strongest asset is when it comes to protecting families from harm and making strides toward a Texas free from pollution.

It takes what we do best: reaching out to Texans everywhere, one door at a time. That’s why we send canvassers out every weeknight and put them on the road to El Paso, Texarkana, Amarillo and Brownsville and so many communities in between. We’re the only organization in Texas that builds grassroots support in all 181 legislative districts, all over the state.


I got my start in door-to-door organizing even before TCE was born. Back in those early days of canvassing in the 1970’s, field managers (who are crew leaders) had to have a car. So when I was getting promoted from canvasser to field manager, I bought my first car. I found a 1966 Ford Galaxy 500 in the classified ads (remember those?) and named her Beulah. She was the size of a small boat and really ate the gas.

Fast forward 10 years or so and organizations were providing the vehicles for its canvassers – thank goodness. Chevy Suburbans became the standard canvass vehicle. They could fit lots of people and were highly rated on safety. When we piled eight community organizers into one, we would say that it’s one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the road.

In the last 5 years, TCE has been slowly transitioning to Honda Pilots because they are safe, almost twice as fuel efficient and the A/C doesn’t go out as often – an expensive and frequent problem with Suburbans. This isn’t good for an organization based in Texas especially!

But in TCE’s “fleet,” we still have two Chevy Suburbans – 2001 and 2002 models at that! It’s time to retire those beauties and get better vehicles. That way we’ll spend less on gas and be able to allocate your contributions to other activities that win campaigns. On top of that, you’ll be helping us reduce our environmental impacts, improve the reliability of our canvassing efforts, and enable us to continue building power for our efforts across this state.


To reach our goal for a greener fleet, we’ve embarked in our Appeals for Wheels campaign. We’ve set out to raise $16,000 in 10 days – and in the first four days we’ve already gone past the halfway mark. Thank you so much if you’ve already donated, we’ve started shopping for one vehicle already!

UPDATE: With three days to go, we’re already past $15,000 – so we’re upping the ante and setting a new goal to raise $20,000! If we can meet or beat that, it will allow us to purchase newer, lower mileage vehicles.

If you haven’t already invested in this campaign, help TCE take the next step into the future by replacing the last of our Suburbans with vehicles that more closely match our values and yours. This is how we will keep winning our fights for a cleaner, healthier Texas.

Here’s the page with more information and to make a donation. Click on the “Videos” tab to see the funny “Five Things We Won’t Miss about Suburbans.” Use our hashtag #AppealforWheels on social media! Plus, we are encouraging all donors to suggest names for the vehicles, so if you have some creative ideas, let us know!

Thanks for your support – we can’t do any of this without grassroots support from people who care. And one last thing: if YOU have an old vehicle to donate, we can take that off your hands too – and you’ll get a tax deduction!


Robin Schneider
Executive Director