Knocked On




Texas Voices

our mission

Empowering Texans to fight pollution through sustained grassroots organizing campaigns that shift corporate and governmental policy

We envision a Texas free from pollution. As the largest environmental group in Texas organizing support through door-to-door canvassing, grassroots is both who we are and what we do.

  • Robin Schneider started her activist career in high school as a 17-year-old canvasser for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) raising funds door-to-door to assist pro-ERA candidates. During college she led a campaign that stopped a plan to drill for oil on the UCLA campus, which would have displaced the university’s childcare center. She also led a delegation of 18 college students that traveled to Florida in early 1982 to work for passage of the ERA.

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  • Karen Hoffman Blizzard, Writer, is a free-lance musician, political activist, and conservationist. Previously she worked in communications and management for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and other state agencies. While at TPWD, she served on the public-use plan implementation teams for Big Bend Ranch State Park and Devils River State Natural Area, and served as the statewide coordinator for First Day Hikes in Texas State Parks. A native Austinite, she has served on the the boards of Save Our Springs Alliance and Friends of Barton Springs Pool, and participated in the Barton Springs master plan process. She and her husband, Mike Blizzard, are longtime supporters of TCE, and Karen served on the planning committee for Trash Makeover Challenge in 2018.

  • Rosanne Barone was taught an appreciation for the beauty and diversity of the environment at a young age while growing up in the rolling hills of Nashville, TN. After graduating from the University of North Texas where she actively enjoyed the rich arts and music scene of Denton, she moved to New York City where she began her career in advocacy as a community organizer with the New York Public Interest Research Group in 2013. She has led campaigns for the development of renewable energy and has trained college students in civic engagement. Rosanne relocated to Houston to join TCE in 2017 and is motivated by the challenges facing Texans in the fight to protect public health, clean air, and clean water.

  • Carol Burrus, Religious Educator & Volunteer Coordinator, has been a community leader of our local Zero Waste Houston campaign since 2016 after she testified at City Hall in favor of saving curbside recycling. She serves as the Director of Religious Education at First Unitarian Universalist Church in Houston, where she leads the church’s Climate Action/Protection Team. Carol is particularly skilled at organizing volunteers to participate in community events, and has helped to create a local Interfaith Green Coalition with members of other religious faiths and congregations in Houston. Carol also has taught Music Education to elementary school students and loves to share her musical talent to support non-profit causes by holding benefit concerts with her band, Traveler. Carol holds a M.A. in Social Work from the University of Houston and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin.

  • Corey Troiani is a native Texan who started his activist career in late 2011 at the University of North Texas fighting hydraulic fracturing in Denton neighborhoods. After graduating with a Bachelor’s in Anthropology, he co-founded a direct action campaign with activists and landowners to stop construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in East Texas. He joined TCE in early 2013, and has worked non-stop as a community organizer, field manager, and now Program Director in the DFW office. Corey enjoys hiking, rock climbing, soap-making, and geeky stuff like graphic and print design.

  • Carol Mendoza Fisher, Aquifer & Groundwater Expert, is originally from El Salvador and moved to the United States as a child. Carol has a BS in Resource and Environmental Studies from Texas State University San Marcos. Carol has worked as a federal contractor specializing in hazardous waste management and for Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, where she specialized in air, water and waste rules, permitting and compliance.

    Carol is now the Technical Director for the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance, advocating for one of the largest aquifers in the United States. She lives in San Antonio.

  • Gil Saenz, Attorney,  grew up in the South Texas town of Freer. He clerked and then worked as an attorney for the Office of the Texas Attorney General.  He also served as U.S. Naval Officer in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps for 14 years (active and reserve). He owns and operates his own law practice and is the Freer City Attorney. In 2014, he was elected to the Freer ISD School Board to a four-year term.  In his spare time, he gardens, hunts, and raises sheep on his ranch in Duval County.

  • Bret Howrey, PhD, Health Services Research, works for the UT system in Galveston. Bret was the recycling coordinator for Duke University. A recently appointed fellow at the UTMB Sealy Center on Aging, he grew up in Houston and now lives in Galveston with his wife and their three small children.

  • Karin Cagle, Attorney, is a partner in a small litigation firm in Fort Worth, representing small businesses and individuals in state and federal courts. Her practice covers a wide variety of legal areas; she has special interests in civil rights and constitutional law. Before becoming an attorney Karin worked as a chemist and taught middle school science. Her teaching included developing and organizing an after-school environmental program that brought together her traditional program students with magnet school students for hands-on learning, focusing on application of the scientific method and conducting water analysis.

    Karin is a native Texan raised in San Antonio and New Braunfels and has lived in Fort Worth for most of her life. She enjoys Texas’ great outdoors—from the Piney Woods to the high desert—and hopes to do her part to preserve its sanctity and beauty for future generations.

  • Christine Holley, e-Cycling Pioneer, is retired after 26 years with Goodwill Central Texas. In her role as Vice President of Environmental Business she developed innovative computer recycling operations for four Goodwill organizations in Texas, consulted with non-profits on combining similar operations with workforce development and was one of the creators of the award-winning pilot project that became Dell’s Reconnect recycling program.

    Christine is involved in a variety of volunteer activities concerning both the environment and issues facing people who are homeless. She has served on various boards and councils including STAR Electronics Resource Recovery Council, the TCEQ Pollution Prevention Advisory Council, ECHO, the Foundation for the Homeless and the Religious Coalition to Assist the Homeless. She is a resource for Zero Waste consultants and an experienced volunteer ombudsman.

  • Zac Trahan grew up in the idyllic hill country and studied Biology (Evolution and Ecology) at the University of Texas at Austin. His deep connection with and respect for the natural world has only strengthened since joining TCE in the fall of 2002. Zac has worked in all three TCE offices; he was the Houston Program Director from 2008-2011 and the DFW Program Director from 2012-2015. He believes our common problems call for collaborative solutions and that protecting our future means protecting our shared surroundings.

  • Andrew Dobbs has been involved in Texas politics since reaching the University of Texas in 2002. He was with TCE briefly in 2006 and continuously since 2010. Known as “Dobbs” to his friends, he is a passionate advocate for the people’s voice in the public policy process and has helped with electoral campaigns ranging from student government to Presidential candidates. He is now committed to non-partisan efforts to organize grassroots pressure on all elected officials. Dobbs lives in Southeast Austin where he spends his free time reading and listening to the radio.

  • Jeffrey Jacoby began his career with TCE in 2004 and directed our D/FW office from 2005-2011 before taking on the Central Texas office in 2012. After obtaining a Master of Arts from the University of Maryland and living in Washington, D.C. for three years, Jeff found TCE when he returned to his native Texas. Jeff believes that change begins at home, one person at a time. His commitment to grassroots democracy and environmental advocacy stems from a strong desire to transform the mindset of a culture bent on harming the very source of its sustenance.

  • Todd Main, policy and political consultant, began working for environmental non-profits as a door-to-door canvasser. He rose up the ranks to become a Field Manager, Canvass Staff Director and State Director. For three years, Todd served as the Executive Director of TCE. He founded Texas Campaign for the Environment Fund, TCE’s sister research organization. He is currently on assignment in Washington, D.C. with his wife Theresa Amato and daughters Isabella and Vittoria.


2018 Highlights

Local Zero Waste Victories
This past year we secured one of the biggest local victories in our DFW history: we won recycling for nearly every apartment and condo building in Dallas! This new local ordinance will keep hundreds of thousands of tons of waste out of area landfills while growing the North Texas recycling industry.

Recycling at Austin Parks
In Austin we scored a big victory when local officials finally invested in recycling for city parks. There are more than 300 city facilities—parks, pools, recreations centers, cultural facilities, and athletic fields. Now, thanks to your support, they will ALL have recycling soon.

View 2018 Annual Report

2017 Highlights

Defending Texas Trees
Gov. Greg Abbott used a special legislative session in 2017 as an attempt to over-ride all local tree protections in Texas. Local officials, arborists, business leaders, and even children came to the Capitol to tell lawmakers to leave tree protections in place. We helped lead this effort, and thanks to strong public pressure from many others as well, every local ordinance in Texas was saved.

Cleaning Up Toxic Sites
In working closely with allies on the San Jacinto River Waste Pits, a toxic dump east of Houston, we learned about the impact that Superfund sites can have on surrounding communities. Hurricane Harvey flooded this site, which revealed dioxin levels more than 2,000 times the “safe” limit. We helped score a victory with a U.S. EPA decision to fully remove the waste pits!

View 2017 Annual Report

Past Years

Our Financials

TCE builds power throughout the state thanks to the generous support of Texans like you. In 2018, 8 out of every 10 dollars came from grassroots, individual contributions. We work for the people, so we’re funded by the people. Simple. Effective.

2018 Revenue total: $1,301,532
78% Grassroots contributions
11% Special projects funding
11% Reimbursements, miscellaneous

2018 Expense total: $1,320,983
75% Advocacy, organizing & education
11% Managing TCE
14% Fundraising to sustain TCE

Want to see more details? Here are our 2017 IRS Form 990 tax documents.

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We’re not in this work to win awards, but on occasion we receive recognition for our efforts – here are some accolades we’re proud of.

2017 Defender of Texas Trees Award

Following our work to build a statewide coalition to defend local tree preservation ordinances from attack during the 2017 special legislative session, the International Society of Arboriculture-Texas Chapter (ISAT) awarded TCE their “Defender of Texas Trees” award. We led regular conference calls and strategy sessions, and we helped coordinate outreach and advocacy from concerned citizens, business leaders and even military officials concerned about how the bill would affect their facilities in San Antonio. We also generated thousands of messages to lawmakers pressuring them to stop the bill, which was eventually was reduced to a minor tweak — and every local tree protection ordinance in Texas still stands.

GSDFW12014 Green Source DFW Sustainable Leadership Award

Green Source DFW, a project of the Memnosyne Foundation, presented the Grassroots Nonprofit Award to Texas Campaign for the Environment’s Dallas office. The organization recognized our work for a strong gas drilling ordinance and zero waste goals in Dallas.

liveablecity2008 Liveable City Vision Awards: Celebrating the Five E’s of Sustainability

For their 5th Annual Liveable City Vision Awards, the group recognized Texas Campaign for the Environment and Dell for creating the computer industry’s leading recycling program setting a new mark for corporate responsibility.

LWVExcellence in Environmental Awareness 2006 Nonprofit Organization Award

The League of Women Voters of Texas recognized the successes of Texas Campaign for the Environment in addressing the issue of electronic waste and recycling. The selection committee acknowledged the key role that TCE has played at the state and national level.

award_boa2004Austin Chronicle Best of Austin 2004 – Best New Partnership: Texas Campaign for the Environment & Dell

Texas Campaign for the Environment and Dell started as adversaries of sorts, with TCE pressuring Dell to increase recycling of electronic waste. But Dell insisted it really cared about the environment, and when Round Rock’s personal computer market leader put its money where its mouth is, protest turned into pats on the back from activists.

COA_awardCity of Austin Environmental Awareness Award: Outstanding Environmental Service

Texas Campaign for the Environment won the 2001 Environmental Awareness Award for a Community or Non-profit Organization in recognition of outstanding environmental service. TCE was selected for this award by the four City of Austin citizen advisory bodies which address environmental issues.

award_boa2001Best of Austin 2001 – Best Advocate for Breathing: Robin Schneider, Texas Campaign for the Environment

When the Texas environmental agency claimed it couldn’t record pollution complaints on the Web, Schneider, TCE, and its research arm, Public Research Works did it themselves — as one more way of goading the regulatory agency into doing its job. Schneider was a central member of this year’s environmentalist caucus that kept the pressure on the Lege to finally do something about grandfathered industrial polluters — and succeeded, with one of the big people’s victories of the session.

Empowering Texans to fight pollution, one door at a time

Canvassing is a time-tested and effective tool that generations of community organizers have used to win real, positive change. Knocking on doors allows us to bring the tools of civic engagement to residents who may otherwise never have gotten involved.

Grassroots strong

Our small but mighty group of activists pounds the pavement, rain or shine, year-round, to knock on doors and make contact with folks about public health and environmental issues. Face-to-face conversations is one way groups like ours can have a big impact. Every year our three offices knock on close to a half-million doors, gaining tens of thousands of contributing members to win our campaigns! We have created a presence in all 181 legislative districts in Texas. We have accomplished many important environmental victories over the years through our canvassing efforts, such as:

Passing statewide environmental legislation to reduce air pollution, improve public “right-to-know” laws, and establish electronics recycling programs in Texas.

Helping to win curbside recycling in D/FW and Houston, and curbside composting in Austin.

Passing local policies such as a single-use bag ban in Austin and a protective gas drilling ordinance in Dallas.

More victories

We’re proud that canvassing on environmental and political issues is protected free speech under the First Amendment, according to numerous court rulings, and the U.S. Supreme Court draws a clear distinction between canvassing for a social cause and commercial solicitation. Generating support on social issues through canvassing is legally protected because it represents free speech and helps make democracy work.

How it works

We begin knocking each day at 4:00 p.m., making our first attempt to contact people before 7:30 p.m. So, if someone receives a knock after that, it is almost always our second or third attempt to reach them that day. We conduct these return visits and collect letters of support until 9:00 p.m., and we abide by posted “No Canvassing” and “No Trespassing” signs. In most cases, we notify law enforcement before we arrive.

Since we are in communities to find people who agree, we train our canvassers to be polite and peacefully walk away from anyone who is not interested or doesn’t have time to help with what we are working on a given day. Our canvassers are looking for individuals who want to connect to a larger group of people with a common goal.

The way we canvass at TCE is all about developing leadership skills. We provide training and education programs for our staff. Canvassing teaches (mostly young) people important traits such as effective communication, patience, work ethic and public participation.

Record of success

It’s no coincidence that several of history’s greatest environmental protections were organized with the help of knocking on doors. In the early 1970s, people began to organize their communities on environmental issues at an unprecedented scale. Clean Water Action, one of the first groups to canvass, used grassroots organizing to pass the national Clean Water Act in 1972. Lois Gibbs, a housewife in a middle-class neighborhood known as “Love Canal” started knocking on doors when she learned she and her neighbors had health problems related to pollution — her grassroots campaign applied enough pressure to win federal clean-up of the site and the creation of an agency dedicated to such “Superfund” sites.

Through canvassing, we empower people to fight with us for a Texas free from pollution. Canvassing reflects our values as an organization — and it just plain works. If you are a member of your homeowners association or active on neighborhood websites such Nextdoor.com, please go online and post a positive message about us. Thanks for your support!