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
Tobin has been a community organizer for five years and has worked with TCE for a year. 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.”
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.
Brittany Garcia holds a BA in Sociology from Texas A&M University Corpus Christi and joined TCE as Coastal Bend Lead Organizer in 2020. Her first experience with canvassing was in 2018 volunteering on a city council race campaign. She has been active with local grassroots groups advocating for community needs for years and is excited to continue fighting for healthy, equitable communities and a safe/clean environment for all.
Donna Hoffman set foot on Texas beaches as a toddler and came to love special places outdoors on Mustang Island, the Frio Canyon, and Big Bend. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication at the University of Texas at Austin and has worked in environmental advocacy communications since then. Some of her highlights so far have been working alongside 300 activists of National People’s Action to pass the Affordable Housing Act, producing women’s issues radio series in Dublin and Austin, working with the Alliance for a Clean Texas to block coal plants in Texas, contributing to environmental sustainability and historic preservation in her neighborhood, and… entering a design in TCE’s Trash Makeover Challenge. Donna loves gardening, kayaking, and swimming in cold, clean Texas rivers and springs.
Brittani Flowers was taught an appreciation for the beauty and diversity of the environment at a young age while growing up in Southern California. After graduating from the Central Washington University, she moved to Houston where she began her career in advocacy as a community organizer with the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice in 2012. She has led campaigns for the development of brownfields to health fields and has trained residents in civic engagement. Brittani joined TCE in 2019 and is motivated by the challenges facing Texans in the fight to protect public health across the built environment.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 and our Central Texas office from 2012-2019. 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.
Zero Waste Houston
After years of advocating for Zero Waste policies at the City of Houston, local officials have started the process to implement a long-term recycling plan, a resiliency road map, and a climate action plan! We’re making sure these new plans will be finalized and adopted, and we’re working to include critical waste reduction programs such as recycling for multi-family buildings and businesses.
Clean Energy, not Plastic Pollution
It’s no secret that Texas is in the midst of a massive drilling boom. However, many people are surprised to learn the final destination of all this oil and gas: wasteful flaring, export abroad, and huge new plastics facilities.
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.
TCE builds power throughout the state thanks to the generous support of Texans like you. In 2019, 7 out of every 10 dollars came from grassroots, individual contributions. We work for the people, so we’re funded by the people. Simple. Effective.
2019 Revenue total: $1,274,027
70% Grassroots contributions
16% Major gifts & events
14% Special projects funding
2018 Expense total: $1,298,707
74% Advocacy, organizing & education
13% Managing TCE
13% Fundraising to sustain TCE
Want to see more details? Here are our 2018 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!