Texas grassroots mini-grants

Texas Campaign for the Environment Fund, with the help of generous donors is now able to make mini-grants to grassroots groups, formal and informal organizations working on environmental issues. From now until June 30, 2021 we are also accepting applications, on a rolling basis, from applicants directly addressing the impact to communities related to the February Deep Freeze. For this emergency funding period, we are able to offer up to $4,000 per applicant. Through small grants to traditionally under-funded organizations and communities, we’re working with a grassroots network to protect public health all over Texas.

We value local community involvement and organizing, creative interventions, strategic thinking, and both defensive “fight-back” and offensive solutions-focused projects. You do not need to have a legal non-profit status in order to apply.

Grants should fit five basic categories:

  1. Projects emphasizing grassroots organizing, public education, training and capacity building that develops skills, increases awareness, and/or builds alliances.
  2. Projects emphasizing community-driven, strategic use of non-violent direct action that demonstrate local resistance to polluting facilities or proposals.
  3. Travel and other opportunities that amplify community voices in regional, national and international forums and provide access to decision makers.
  4. Field studies and original research used to hold companies accountable for their on-the-ground activities.
  5. Seed money for emerging grassroots organizations.

The Texas Grassroots Mini-Grant program does not support individual, governmental, or exclusively academic projects. Applications will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Applicant’s capacity to carry out proposed activities;
  • Project need and urgency;
  • A well-defined strategy, including clear objectives and planned activities;
  • Scale and scope of community participation, including when applicable that the community where the project is centered and/or that will be impacted by the initiative be engaged in the decision-making process related to the activities;
  • Project honors and upholds diversity and equity of participants;
  • Activities would be significantly enhanced by a small grant: applicant’s annual budget (under $50,000 is prioritized).

We want to disburse these funds with a minimum of hassle and without long delays. There are no application deadlines, and grants are given out on a rolling basis. Applicants will be informed within 4 weeks if their application has been accepted or declined. Grant applications can be completed online here or downloaded here and returned via email to robin(at)texasenvironment.org or mailed to:

Texas Campaign for the Environment Fund
P.O. Box 42278
Austin TX 78704

Our Afrikan Family

Houston’s Historic Fifth Ward is a low income community that faces an increase of sound pollution, air pollution, displacement as well as fighting a cancer cluster. Our community has become a center for gentrification. In response, we are launching a series of bike tours to educate and mobilize the community, giving residents a voice in the proposal to expand I-45. This mini-grant funding is going toward recruitment materials, outreach expenses, Covid-19 equipment (masks & sanitizer), safety equipment, bike rentals, and gas cards for pick-up vans. Our goal is to connect with new residents monthly to gain new volunteers advocates. This will restore the pride in the community while strengthening our organization.

Southern Sector Rising

We are seeking to remove Shingle Mountain, which has been a critical issue for the last three years. The removal needs to be safe for the residents’ health, and ensure that after removal further industrial uses are prevented at the site. Shingle Mountain is a poster child for how racist zoning can cause environmental injustices. Southern Dallas hosts numerous major polluters such as the Lane Plating Super Fund Site, multiple concrete batching plants, roof shingle manufacturers, and other uses that are dangerous for the nearby communities. We want to remove sources of pollution close to Black and Brown people in the Southern Sector and to prevent other industrial polluters from moving into already polluted neighborhoods. This support from TCE Fund is being used for materials or supplies needed for trainings, meetings and events that support our organizing tactics. The goal is to recruit allies on environmental justice issues in Southern Dallas to build capacity within our group.

Society of Native Nations

The Society of Native Nations is helping local communities hold peaceful direct actions at the border wall with two encampments along the path of the wall construction. The mini-grant we received helped us hold training and provide transportation for supporters to come to the border and show our opposition to the waiver of 28 environmental laws and the seizure of land from poor low-income families as well as the National Butterfly Center. The construction threatens wildlife, water, air, cemeteries, and sacred sites to indigenous people.

Indigenous People of the Coastal Bend

This mini-grant helped us kick start our environmental efforts for our small indigenous group. One of our goals was to educate and bring awareness to what’s happening in Corpus Christi with the desalination plants. We held a “Tag your Car” event, which included using window markers with the hashtag #NoDesal. The grant enabled us to buy lots of supplies to paint the cars and to use these supplies for the future. We also purchased items for a raffle held via social media—sharing the #NoDesal information post provided entry into the drawing. We promoted this with Facebook and Instagram ads as well. We invested in a year subscription of Zoom, which allowed us to network in larger time intervals and with more people regarding environmental issues. Finally, we bought several cameras, tripods, and lighting equipment for creating media content. We wanted to become our own media because most local media was ignoring the desalination issue. We are thankful and appreciate the grant for helping us achieve our start-up goals!

San Antonio Bay Estuarine Waterkeeper

For the last several years our volunteers have taken samples of illegally discharged plastic pellets and powder by Formosa Plastics over a 20 mile area of Lavaca Bay on the Texas Gulf Coast. We submitted over 2,600 samples and 6,000 videos and photographs as evidence of violations of the Clean Water Act. Thanks in part to a grant from TCE Fund, we now have an operational boat and we can cover all the facility’s storm water outfalls. This year we filed a citizen clean water suit against Formosa Plastics for all of their violations—and the judge has ruled in our favor!

Rio Grande International Study Center

We requested this mini-grant in the aftermath of winter storm Uri in order to help provide emergency relief for broken water pipes in our communities. PlumbFix is a pilot program targeted at very low-income residents in Laredo’s downtown/riverfront district (those who fall below 60% median income, which is roughly $23,640 for a family of four in Laredo). The broken pipes left behind by the winter storm have intensified the economic distress that many in the community were already experiencing by the COVID-19 pandemic, and many of whom were without power for days during the storm. PlumbFix will prioritize emergency pipe repair for problems that pose a risk to the life, health, or safety of the occupants.

Signal Hill Area Alliance

Residents in Hays County’s Signal Hill neighborhood have formed a local organization to address threats posed by a new concrete batch plant. We are advocating for the responsible use of the watershed and aquifers, and we are defending our environment, peaceful community, and rural character. The mini-grant we received from TCE Fund is helping ensure our voice in the civic processes through legal research and intervention in city permitting. Ultimately we hope to safeguard the quality of life of residents in this area now and in the future thanks to this much needed support.

Midlothian Breathe

Midlothian Breathe aims to become the trusted, go-to organization to address local air quality concerns here in Midlothian. The blessing of this grant is helping us achieve our goal of securing public health protections through unbiased risk assessment and educational programs, as well as being pivotal in helping our grassroots organization establish credibility as a “watchdog” for our community. Our high proportion of at-risk elderly and youth members desperately need this level of protection that is not currently being provided by any other organization.

Liveable Arlington

We organize against expansion of gas drilling and fracking, and drilling infrastructure in Arlington. We have campaigned to stop new drilling, to stop the practice of reducing drilling setbacks, to strengthen our drilling ordinance to get more protection for residents, to bring more stringent monitoring of drilling practices, and to focus the attention of local climate groups on fracking. More than ever, COVID-19 has exposed the need to expand methods for mobilizing and engaging our audience online. This mini-grant is helping us to refine and expand our online presence, which is driving an increase in followers, volunteers, and action takers. The broader our coalition becomes, the more influence we will be able to have on key environmental concerns in our community.

Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association

Extractive industrial agriculture is responsible for roughly one-quarter of annual, global greenhouse gas emissions, and relies heavily on the broad application of toxic chemical pesticides. Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association’s mission is to advance organic and sustainable agriculture in the state of Texas by providing education, networking and advocating on behalf of food and fiber producers. This mini-grant is going toward our 2021 TOFGA Annual Conference, which now includes virtual tours of organic and sustainable farms, ranches and homesteads throughout Texas, thus representing a variety of eco-regions and different production scales. Support from TCE Fund has allowed us to travel to these sites and film educational content that highlights the diverse ways in which Texans are operating organic and sustainable agriculture businesses.