Texas grassroots mini-grants
Texas Campaign for the Environment Fund, with the help of generous donors is now able to make mini-grants of up to $4,000 each to grassroots groups, formal and informal organizations working on environmental issues. 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:
- Projects emphasizing grassroots organizing, public education, training and capacity building that develops skills, increases awareness, and/or builds alliances.
- Projects emphasizing community-driven, strategic use of non-violent direct action that demonstrate local resistance to polluting facilities or proposals.
- Travel and other opportunities that amplify community voices in regional, national and international forums and provide access to decision makers.
- Field studies and original research used to hold companies accountable for their on-the-ground activities.
- 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, grants are given out on a rolling basis, and groups should only apply once per calendar year. Applicants will be informed within 6 weeks if their application has been accepted or declined. Grant applications can be completed online here or downloaded here and returned via email to amber(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 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.
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.
Frontera Land Alliance
Frontera Land Alliance is a non-profit that conserves water and wildlife resources forever through the preservation of open land. This mini-grant is helping us advance diversity, equity, and inclusion practices by offering free guided hikes, educational events, camping, and STEM activities to everyone regardless of zip code. We are working toward the vision of community-based conservation, with the hopes of having the entire El Paso community advocating, recreating, and conserving natural open spaces.
Commissary is Very Necessary
We are a Dallas non-profit environmental justice organization that provides resources for minority communities, grassroots organizations, schools, and families from under-served communities with high incarceration rates. We used this mini-grant to involve students in an Ecological Devastation Tour to continue to bring awareness to residents, city council members and other leaders in communities affected by toxic sites. The bus tour was an educational moment, and each place we visited had an expert to discuss exactly how the SuperFund site is affecting the health of the residents.
East Lubbock Art House
We are a grassroots organization with a mission of making art accessible for all individuals while working at the intersection of art and activism towards a more equitable community. We are currently working to address the need for community beautification by focusing on safety, creativity and rejecting environmental racism and injustice. We are using mini-grant resources to conduct Eastside Community Cleanups to better combat the overwhelming garbage and waste that is suffocating our neighborhoods.
Black Gold Resourcing, LLC
Our enterprise is led by a 4th generation, Black, female, cattle rancher in Caldwell County whose work crosses cultural barriers and is pointed at environmental justice. This mini-grant support is helping us provide technical assistance and outreach for rural landowners that includes education on land conservation, sustainable agriculture, and collective market opportunities. Through this work we are able to attract and provide resources to marginalized and historically underserved agriculture producers and ag-business owners who influence the environment through their practices.
We are a BIPOC-led social and environmental justice education non-profit working with youth, educators, activists, and community members to implement justice-focused education and programming in schools and community spaces. Our work is currently focused in East Austin, Dallas, Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and the Karankawa tribe in Corpus Christi. This mini-grant is supporting increased capacity to build out a comprehensive environmental justice education and mentorship program to train new organizers.
We are an online, community-based journal of environmental justice news in South Texas that is working to expose the root causes of climate change, settler colonialism and racial capitalism. This mini-grant acted as seed money for the administrative labor involved in getting the group fully functional as a 501(c)(3) organization so we can maintain a regular production schedule and run Deceleration as a full-time endeavor, solidifying its place as a critical part of regional media as well as a thriving space for grassroots research and analysis.
Community Resilience Trust
We are an Austin-area group with multiple initiatives related to equity in vaccine distribution, public pandemic information, food access, storm recovery, collective resilience, and police brutality. We supported the rescue of over 400 people and fed and delivered water to thousands of people during Winter Storm Uri. This mini-grant has gone toward a content and communications team that is able to put out a regular newsletter, monitor social media and schedule upcoming workshops.
We are an Austin non-profit working to accelerate ecosystem recovery through biodiversity enhancement, water quality improvements, regenerative land stewardship, and community empowerment. We have spent nearly two decades transforming a former toxic landfill into a thriving nature preserve and community asset. This mini-grant has gone toward promotional materials for events, a camera for sharing photos and videos on social media, supplies for volunteers, and staff time to work with local groups like the Austin Youth Forest Council and Austin Youth River Watch.
Preserve Our Hill Country Environment Foundation
We are a non-profit led by an all-volunteer group of neighbors who have joined together to protect our families and the beautiful Texas Hill Country from the hazards of limestone quarries, mines, concrete batch plants, and other aggregate operations (APOs). This mini-grant support is going toward our current effort to fight a proposed 1500-acre Vulcan quarry that threatens several neighborhoods, schools, parks, and natural attractions between Bulverde and New Braunfels.
Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas
We are working to fight fossil fuel projects through direct actions, legal avenues, community awareness and education through teachings passed down through the Original People. The Tribe has been active in patrolling the lands of Somi Se’k, documenting the destructive path that the industry supply chain proposes. This mini-grant helped us install billboards as a COVID-19-safe medium to educate residents about the consequences of new petrochemical proposals in the region.
We work to address the multigenerational impacts of environmental injustice in East Houston communities that are disproportionately impacted by industrial pollution. This support from TCE Fund is helping us formalize a crisis response toolkit that organizations and individuals can use during the chemical disasters that are occurring with increased frequency in Houston, especially due to extreme weather events that cause flooding, power outages, spills and chemical plant explosions. Mini-grant funds have gone toward the production and distribution of infographics, dual-language translations, and training workshops.
We are helping impacted BIPOC and low-income communities challenge permits for fossil fuel and petrochemical projects in the Permian Basin and Gulf Coast. This mini-grant supported travel and lodging for a group of frontline Texas Gulf Coast delegates who went to Washington DC for an opportunity to speak at events to pressure the Biden Administration to stop environmental racism and fossil fuel expansion during Earth Week when there were international leaders gathering online to discuss climate issues.
We facilitate donations of large volumes of food that would otherwise go to waste to those in need—our mission is to reduce waste by distributing these resources to local families. TCE Fund provided a mini-grant after Winter Storm Uri that was used in Dallas’ Pleasant Grove community (which is made up predominantly of lower income people of color), supporting trucking expenses for food transported from large retailer donors to community partners.
Texas Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association
Our 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. We are working to shift the economic paradigm from an extraction-based economy to one that regenerates life, particularly through transformations in the food supply web. This mini-grant supported the TOFGA 2021 Virtual Annual Conference and allowed us to travel and film educational content that highlights the diverse ways in which Texans are operating organic and sustainable agriculture businesses.