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.Read more
Chloe Torres is a proud, lifelong resident of Corpus Christi, Texas and truly believe in the city’s potential to set an example for other U.S. coastal cities on how to fight back against pollution-causing industries. They have been a local community organizer for the past five years in numerous grassroots organizations which have tackled a variety of issues such as immigration, racial inequality, labor, and of course environmental justice.
Brandon Marks joined TCE after working in labor, community, and electoral organizing in Chicago, most recently at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. Brandon previously lived in Mexico City where he worked and volunteered for non-profits and bolstered his Spanish fluency. Brandon graduated from Yale University, where he studied the role of power, profits, and social movements in the US and Latin America. Brandon was born in Dallas and raised in South Florida, but his family has lived in Corpus Christi, TX for generations.
Sarah-Jordan Stout grew up in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains in East Tennessee. After initially moving to Houston for school, she fell in love with the coastal prairie landscape and rolled up her sleeves to start community organizing with TCE in winter 2020. A strong believer in bottom-up organizing to protect public health and vulnerable communities, she has worked on various TCE campaigns including city-wide recycling for Houston, the Dallas people’s climate plan initiative, and opposition to desalination and oil exports in the coastal bend. Now as Communications Coordinator, she is thrilled to put her writing and rhetoric training in service to coalition building across the state. Sarah-Jordan has a master’s degree in literature and loves all forms of poetry, theater, ponds, insects, estuaries, and sea grasses.
Rodrigo Leal, Climate Change and Sustainability Consultant, works with governments, utilities, and corporations to address climate change, inclusive planning, and social equity. As a Managing Consultant within Guidehouse’s global Energy, Sustainability, and Infrastructure Practice, Rodrigo has consulted with city governments in the fastest-growing U.S. metros to embed equity and resilience principles in climate policies and programs.
A native of the Rio Grande Valley (Brownsville, TX), Rodrigo’s upbringing shaped his commitment to tackling environmental injustices through his professional and volunteer work. His main objective is to bring in people historically excluded from decision-making to shape the plans and policies that affect their communities. Rodrigo also serves as a member of the Steering Committee for the City of Austin’s Climate Equity Plan, where he collaborates with climate justice activists, community leaders, and sustainability professionals to center anti-racism in Austin’s response to the climate crisis. Rodrigo lives in Austin, TX, is a reluctant marathon runner, and is always happy to exchange notes on Austin’s next best taqueria.
Alberta Phillips is a local writer and award-winning journalist, who began her career at an African American publication, The Call and Times, in Cincinnati, Ohio. She also worked at The Westbury Times in Long Island, N.Y., and freelanced for some other black publications. The majority of her career has been with the Austin city daily, The Austin American-Statesman, where she rose from a neighborhood reporter to Editorial Writer and Columnist, taking the pulse of Austin’s Communities of Color for more than 30 years. While at the Statesman, Phillips covered a variety of beats, including public schools, city hall, utilities, race relations, environmental issues and city, state and national politics. She was the first African American woman to serve in the Texas Capitol Press Corps, covering Gov. Ann Richards and Gov. George W. Bush. She has won numerous awards for journalistic excellence and was nominated twice for a Pulitzer Prize. Ms. Phillips left the American-Statesman in 2018 to pursue other interests, including a book project. Recently, the board of KAZI radio, a community radio station with an African American focus, approved her proposal to launch a new, news magazine podcast, “ATX Now in Color,” which will focus on local and state issues impacting the Black Community. The podcast is scheduled to launch in July. In addition to serving on the Board for Texas Campaign for the Environment, she also gives back to the Austin and Travis County area with service on other boards: as Treasurer on the Bike Texas Governing Board; Commissioner on the City of Austin’s Joint Sustainability Committee; and Chairwoman of the ECHO Governing Board (the umbrella organization for Austin’s advocacy network for unsheltered/homeless people.
Maurilio “Mo” Flores Sanchez is an accountant with Apex CAES, LLC, a Texas-based company created to develop, construct, own and operate compressed air energy storage (CAES) plants. As an avid outdoors enthusiast and CPA, Mo is very passionate about using his professional skills while serving with TCE to further environmental efforts in the state of Texas. Mo lives in East Downtown Houston, volunteers with CEC Houston, the Ronald McDonald House & Junior Achievement, and commutes via an electric motorcycle (weather permitting). After marrying another animal lover, Mo’s family includes four rescues – Remy, an Australian Cattle Dog mix, Luna, a Lab mix, JeeBee, another Australian Cattle Dog mix, Buffalo, a Boxer / Pit mix, – and now they have a baby on the way.
Jordan Duncan graduated from Calvin University in Michigan in 2017 and stepped into a community organizer role fighting for Clean Water for all. Jordan’s main passion is environmental justice. He has been a member of national boards committed to fostering diversity within the environmental movement. Jordan was a recipient of the Cyndi Roper Organizer of the Year Award. Jordan joined TCE as the Houston Staff Director at the tail end of 2018 and has fallen in love with Texas since. He believes in people power, and our ability to come together to create the change needed to protect our future. In his spare time Jordan enjoys playing hockey and reading comics.
Karen Hoffman Blizzard, Consultant, is a project manager with Austin Together, which fosters collaborations in the nonprofit community to create better outcomes for Central Texans. In 2021, she consulted with Barton Springs Conservancy through the Leadership Austin Fellows program. As a freelancer, she has written articles on outdoor conservation and stake parks for Texas Highways, Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine, Austin Monthly, and Texas Hill Country (blog). Previously, she worked in communications and management for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and other state agencies. While at TPWD, Blizzard helped create and promote recreational opportunities for all Texans on their public lands. 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 is a Barton Springs swimmer and musician. She and her husband, Mike Blizzard, are longtime supporters of TCE and the Trash Makeover Challenge.
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 earning an undergrad degree 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 yoga, rock climbing, soap-making, and geeky stuff like graphic and print design.
Rebecca Bateman is a native Texan who was raised loving the state’s gorgeous wildflowers and diverse landscapes. She grew up in Fort Worth and got her Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Texas Christian University in 2002. After working in the corporate aerospace sector for a number of years, she moved to the UK to get a Master’s degree in Engineering for Sustainable Development in 2008 from the University of Cambridge. She returned to the US four years later, ready to be an environmental activist, and joined TCE in 2015. Rebecca has lived in Houston, Galveston, Austin, Fort Worth, and Dallas. She believes that Texas’ natural beauty deserves to be protected and preserved.
Vic Cornell joined TCE in 2019 as our Director of Administration. Before that, he worked at the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas for fifteen years, in a wide variety of roles. He attended UT-Austin for his undergrad in religious studies and went to seminary at Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago for his Master of Arts in Religious Education & Theological Ethics. As a trained community organizer, Vic believes that no matter what the problem is, someone, somewhere, can fix it. An organizer’s job is to figure out who that person is, and what needs to be done to them to make them solve the problem.
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.
Jeffrey Jacoby began his career with TCE in 2004 and directed our DFW office from 2005-2011 before moving to Austin in 2012. After obtaining a Master of Arts from the University of Maryland and living in Washington, D.C. for three years, he found TCE when he returned to his native Texas. He 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 find transformative solutions for generational problems.
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.
Chelsea Tobin has been a community organizer since 2015 and has worked with TCE since 2019. She grew up in Maryland, went to school in Iowa, spent some time in the UK, and moved to Austin from Denver, Colorado last September to take over as Staff Director for the Austin TCE office. In her view, there is no better place to work on progressive environmental policy than in the great state of Texas. Grassroots organizing has taught her a tremendous amount about people, communication, motivations, patience, finding common ground, and finding her voice as an activist. She’s honored to have the opportunity to fight for what she loves. “I enjoy cycling, reading about topics spanning from Texas politics to Sci-Fi, poetry, cooking, and exploring/appreciating/noticing all the gloriousness of this rock we all live on together.”
We Won’t Back Down
TCE is working with frontline leaders and allies from around the state and country to fend off the dirty energy projects proposed in many cases by the very same companies that profiteered – or totally failed us – during Winter Storm Uri. We are building public pressure on state officials to move toward a truly sustainable energy future and to refuse big oil & gas campaign contributions.
We know that burning fossil fuels is accelerating natural catastrophes in Texas, from devastating floods and wildfires to historic droughts. That’s why hundreds of local activists are pushing back, fighting to protect the health, safety and future of their communities. To help, in 2022 TCE will be launching a new statewide public education campaign to put proposed Gulf Coast fossil fuel export projects – and the companies and executives behind them – in the spotlight.
Transforming for Good
Our outlook and future will forever be changed by the global coronavirus pandemic, but we’re committed to making progress to protect people’s health and quality of life. We’re at a turning point with energy development in Texas: right now, we have an opportunity to invest in more clean energy, safer and more dependable jobs, and more equitable access to a clean environment.
The Battle Over Our Texas Coast
Despite small businesses and oil field workers facing heavy losses, industry executives continue to invest in risky projects along the Texas Gulf Coast that aim to export even more of our energy resources overseas. We are continuing to work with a strong coalition of allies to oppose projects that put profits and corporate executives over workers and the larger community.
As you might imagine, 2021 was another difficult year for our brand of face-to-face canvassing and fundraising. But just as always, our steadfast members and supporters (Texans like you) came through in a big way to keep us going strong! We also received project-specific contributions last year that will boost our campaigns this year.
2021 Revenue total: $684,917
27% Grassroots contributions
18% Major gifts & events
55% Special projects funding
2021 Expense total: $211,120
75% Advocacy, organizing & education
13% Managing TCE
12% Fundraising to sustain TCE
Want to see more details? Here are our 2020 IRS Form 990 tax documents.
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.
2014 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.
2008 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.
Excellence 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.
Austin 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.
City 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.
Best 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.
Canvassing is a time-tested and effective tool that generations of community organizers have used to win real, positive change. Whether knocking on doors or calling on the phone, canvassing allows us to bring the tools of civic engagement to residents who may otherwise never have gotten involved.
Our small but mighty group of activists routinely pounds the pavement, rain or shine, year-round, to knock on doors and make contact with folks about public health and environmental issues. Now our person-to-person conversations on the phone are another way we can have a big impact together with people like you. Every year our three offices reach out to 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.
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.
We begin canvassing each day at 4:00 p.m., making our first attempt to contact people before 7:30 p.m. So, if someone receives a call after that, it is almost always our second or third attempt to reach them that day. We conduct these return calls and collect letters of support until 9:00 p.m., and we abide by people’s expressed wish to talk or not at any time.
Since we are in communities to find people who agree, we train our canvassers to be polite and peacefully walk away or complete the phone conversation with 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 ethics, and public participation.
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 – whether at your door or on the phone, we empower people to fight together 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!