Non-profit

Texas Freedom Network

Location:

AUSTIN, TX

Tax ID:

74-2736849

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Budget (2019):

Revenue: $1,050,606
Expenses: $581,258
Assets: $1,552,230

Website:

tfn.org

Founded:

1996

Type:

Left-Progressive Issues Advocacy

President and Executive Director:

Val Benavidez

The Texas Freedom Network is a left-of-center lobbying organization that opposes religious conservatives on issues such as sex education, legal abortion, and Bible study in public schools. The group was founded by former Planned Parenthood head Cecile Richards, the daughter of former Texas Gov. Ann Richards (D). [1]

The Texas Freedom Network’s projects include Texas Rising, which provides training to left-of-center leaders and activists on college campuses throughout the state encouraging voter registration and left-of-center social policy advocacy, [2] and Just Texas, which advocates for state policies that support abortion and LGBT interests while opposing policies it claims amount to religious establishment. [3]

The Texas Freedom Network is the affiliated lobbying arm of the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund, an educational nonprofit. [4]

Activity

The Texas Freedom Network supports public education and opposes state support for private school programs including education choice subsidies. [5] TFN claims that the Texas State Board of Education censors textbooks used in public schools, especially those used relating to social studies, climate change, and American history. [6] It asserts that Texas’ social studies curriculum is based more on political beliefs than historical facts. [7]

TFN supports “comprehensive” sex education in public schools, including teaching sexuality and reproduction, the use of contraceptives and prevention of sexually transmitted infections, and LGBT issues like sexual orientation and gender identity. In a November 2021 blog post, TFN claims that the Texas State Board of Education engages in censorship by rejecting many proposed health textbooks due to their inclusion of sex education topics. [8]

The Texas Freedom Network supports pro-abortion legislation and advocates for state funded birth control. [9] In a March 2021 press release, TFN claims that instead of trying to pass anti-abortion legislation, the Texas State Senate should expand access to the procedure and other forms of contraception. [10]

Political Contributions

The Texas Freedom Network has made contributions to the Working Texans for Paid Sick Time PAC ($160,000 in 2018) [11] and to the state House campaigns of Erin Zweiner (D-Driftwood) ($42,641 in 2020) and Brandy Chambers (D) ($7,670 in 2020). [12]

Leadership

Val Benavidez is the president and executive director of the Texas Freedom Network and the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund. Benavidez formerly worked for the Texas Immigrant and Refugee Coalition, the League of Young Voters, and Generational Alliance. Benavidez is the former executive director of ProTex: Network for a Progressive Texas and formerly served on the board of the Workers Defense Project. [13]

Kathy Miller is the former president and executive director of TFN. Miller formerly worked as the communications director of both the Texas Council on Family Violence and the National Domestic Violence Hotline and as the public affairs director at Planned Parenthood Federation of Austin. [14]

Imelda Mejia is the communications director at TFN and former media relations manager at the ACLU of Texas. [15]

Jose Medina is a senior communications strategist at TFN and former media coordinator at the ACLU of Texas. [16]

Mark Corcoran is the senior digital and technology director at TFN, former digital director at Progress Texas, and former new media manager for the Texas Democratic Party. [17]

Board of Trustees

Stephanie Chiarello works as a chief of staff in the Texas House of Representatives. Chiarello formerly worked as the executive director of the Texas Senate Democratic Caucus and as a recruiter for Annie’s List. [18]

Cary Clack is an editorial writer for the San Antonio Express-News. [19]

Sarah Eckhardt (D-Austin) is a Texas state senator. [20]

Odus Evbagharu works as a chief of staff in the Texas House of Representatives and sits on the Planned Parenthood Young Leaders Steering Committee. [21]

Jenn Longoria is the director of programs at Jolt Action, a member of the advisory board of Battleground Texas, and a guest presenter at the New Leaders Council. [22]

Colleen Loper is the senior director of political strategy at Way to Win, the former deputy executive director of the Texas Future Project, and former campaigns director at Annie’s List. [23]

Cecile Richards is the founder of TFN and Supermajority, and the former president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. [24]

References

  1.  “Mission.” Texas Freedom Network. Accessed December 7, 2021. https://tfn.org/mission/. ^
  2. “About.” Texas Rising. Accessed December 13, 2021. https://txrising.org/about/. ^
  3. “About.” Just Texas. Accessed December 13, 2021. https://justtx.org/about/. ^
  4. “Mission.” Texas Freedom Network. Accessed December 7, 2021. https://tfn.org/mission/. ^
  5. “Education.” Texas Freedom Network. Accessed December 13, 2021. https://tfn.org/issue/education/. ^
  6. “Textbook Censorship.” Texas Freedom Network. Accessed December 13, 2021. https://tfn.org/issue/textbook-censorship/. ^
  7. Quinn, Dan. “Tell the Texas SBOE: #TeachTheTruth and Stop Rewriting History.” Texas Freedom Network. October 8, 2018. Accessed December 13, 2021. https://tfn.org/tell-texas-sboe-teachthetruth-stop-rewriting-history/. ^
  8. “Politics Trumps Health and Education in Texas Textbook Adoption.” Texas Freedom Network. November 19, 2021. Accessed December 13, 2021. https://tfn.org/politics-trumps-health-and-education-in-texas-textbook-adoption/. ^
  9. “Reproductive Rights.” Texas Freedom Network. Accessed December 13, 2021. https://tfn.org/issue/reproductive-rights/. ^
  10. Quinn, Dan. “Misplaced Priorities: Texas Senate Committee Turns Attention from Unresolved COVID and Power Crises to Abortion Bans.” Texas Freedom Network. March 15, 2021. Accessed December 13, 2021.  https://tfn.org/misplaced-priorities-texas-senate-committee-turns-attention-from-unresolved-covid-and-power-crises-to-abortion-bans/. ^
  11. Texas Freedom Network, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2018, Schedule I, Part II. ^
  12. “Texas Freedom Network.” Follow the Money. Accessed December 12, 2021. https://www.followthemoney.org/entity-details?eid=11322933. ^
  13. “Val Benavidez.” Texas Freedom Network. Accessed December 7, 2021. https://tfn.org/tfn-media-kit/. ^
  14. “Texas Freedom Network Names Kathy Miller As New President.” Texas Freedom Network. December 8, 2004. Accessed December 7, 2021. https://tfn.org/texas-freedom-network-names-kathy-miller-as-new-president/. ^
  15. “Jose Medina.” LinkedIn. Accessed December 7, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jose-medina-49428b17/. ^
  16. “Imelda Mejia.” LinkedIn. Accessed December 7, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/imelda-mejia/. ^
  17. “Mark Corcoran.” LinkedIn. Accessed December 7, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/mark-corcoran-a30a97145/. ^
  18. “Stephanie Chiarello.” LinkedIn. Accessed December 7, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephanie-chiarello/. ^
  19. “Cary Clack.” LinkedIn. Accessed December 7, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/cary-clack-52a6a748/. ^
  20. “Sarah Eckhardt.” Ballotpedia. Accessed December 7, 2021. https://ballotpedia.org/Sarah_Eckhardt. ^
  21. “About.” Odus Evbagharu. Accessed December 7, 2021. https://www.odusevbagharu.com/about-odus-evbagharu.html. ^
  22. “Jenn Longoria.” LinkedIn. Accessed December 7, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenn-longoria-tx/. ^
  23. “Colleen Loper.” LinkedIn. Accessed December 7, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/colleenloper/. ^
  24. “Cecile Richards.” Britannica. Accessed December 7, 2021. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Cecile-Richards. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: March 1, 1996

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2019 Dec Form 990 $1,050,606 $581,258 $1,552,230 $59,833 N $830,512 $0 $6,397 $92,345 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $890,134 $613,647 $1,051,860 $28,811 N $682,598 $0 $2,944 $71,480 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $541,884 $530,234 $793,521 $46,959 N $319,474 $0 $1,218 $166,071 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $395,723 $398,711 $762,596 $27,684 N $227,311 $0 $747 $165,120 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $587,388 $582,646 $768,156 $30,256 N $288,159 $0 $938 $161,597 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $545,295 $543,136 $767,373 $34,215 N $303,974 $0 $473 $165,666 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $604,839 $555,201 $807,169 $64,973 N $316,371 $0 $8 $144,677 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $545,160 $536,302 $771,413 $78,855 N $337,714 $0 $8 $145,385 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $537,172 $504,907 $776,326 $92,626 N $334,316 $0 $8 $130,708 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Texas Freedom Network

    PO BOX 1624
    AUSTIN, TX 78767-1624