Texas, We Have a Problem. Now Is the Time To Fix It.


Natalie Roetzel Ossenfort


The state of Texas is in recovery mode after suffering a winter weather emergency that left millions without power and safe drinking water for days on end. Although the snow has thawed and the streets are once again passable, Texans are now suffering from the devastating after-effects of what many believe was a totally preventable catastrophe.

Investigations are underway to determine what caused the Lone Star State’s power grid failure. Texas Lawmakers have announced that they will hold hearings to address the causes of the power outage and potential reforms that could prevent such a disaster from occurring again in the future. In short, our government is prepped to make several decisions that will impact the integrity of our power supply for years to come and that could provide relief to Texans who are now facing sky-high electric bills and issues related to access to food, water, and housing.

This raises the question: Will your nonprofit be at the table to relay the needs of your communities to those who represent them?

 The good news is that 501(c)(3) public charities can play an active role in supporting legislative reforms that could allocate funding and other resources toward proper winterization of our power grid, thus limiting the likelihood of a repeat disaster in the years to come. Groups whose constituents were directly impacted by the freeze and the damage that it caused can encourage their volunteers and activists to testify at public hearings. They can also educate legislators on the policy proposals that will have the biggest impact in their communities. They can even partner with 501(c)(4) allies to maximize their impact and demand change. 501(c)(4)s may dedicate unlimited resources toward advocating for legislative reform, so they are capable of providing significant support when advancing a legislative agenda.

Nonprofits are also primed to hold elected officials accountable for their decision-making by educating the public on government actions and mobilizing communities to raise their concerns with the lawmakers who will decide how to best address the state’s recent failures. By organizing, speaking out, and embracing advocacy as a strategy for change and accountability, public charities can provide a powerful voice for all those who have lost so much during the past week.

If you’re interested in learning more about your organization’s ability to stand up for Texas in the wake of this disaster, please reach out for free technical assistance by calling 866-NP-LOBBY or emailing advocacy@afj.org. Foundations can also learn about their ability to support the nonprofit advocates seeking to revive their communities and hold government responsible for improving infrastructure and conditions for all Texans. For more on that, check out our guides to “Power Amidst Chaos” and “Power Amidst Renewal.”

At Bolder Advocacy, we believe in the power of nonprofits to provide a voice for local communities. Now is the time to stand up and speak out. The people of Texas need you.