The Metropolitan Organization (TMO) is an organization of institutions dedicated to developing power and leadership among citizens in order to transform the city. We work to create relational power that can build and strengthen each member institution as well as shape public policy for the common good. TMO was formed in 1980 to give a voice to people who are usually excluded from major decisions that affect their lives. TMO is a part of a larger network of organizations known as the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), a nationwide organizing institute with a fifty year history. TMO is also part of the West / Southwest IAF regional network and the Industrial Areas Foundation national network.

TMO believes that a truly democratic society requires the active participation of ordinary citizens. When people lack the means to connect to power and participate effectively in public life, social relationships disintegrate. Our model of relational organizing helps build real community. It generates social capital through a tight web of relationships across lines of race, ethnicity, class, faith, and geography. This social capital enables us to participate fully in public life and to become more effective actors in our communities.

Remembering Archbishop Emeritus Joseph A. Fiorenza


"Most Reverend Joseph Anthony Fiorenza, Archbishop Emeritus of Galveston-Houston, died in Houston on Sept. 19. He was 91 years old....

Archbishop Fiorenza lived a commitment to social justice and care for the most vulnerable in our communities throughout his life. As he once said, “to separate faith from action essentially is not biblical, nor is it Catholic.” In the 1960s, he attended civil rights marches and gatherings in Houston. With two fellow priests of the Diocese, he drove to Alabama in 1965 to join the March on Selma with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. At Houston events, he met and became friends with Rev. William Lawson (now Pastor Emeritus of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church)....

In 1993, Bishop Fiorenza and Rev. Lawson received the first NAACP Unity Awards, recognizing their work on behalf of the homeless and poor. The child of immigrants, he would be a voice for the rights of immigrants and migrants all his life. In 1988, he established a ministry to those affected by AIDS, regardless of their faith background, which included educational programs about HIV/AIDS for parishes and schools. He supported the work of The Metropolitan Organization (TMO) from its founding in 1984 and was a member of the Board of Directors of United Way. As a priest, he directed the diocesan Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the domestic anti-poverty and social justice program of the American bishops, and as a bishop he chaired the national campaign."

[Photo Credit: Texas Catholic Herald]

Remembering Archbishop Emeritus Joseph A. FiorenzaThe Archdiocese of Galveston/Houston [pdf]

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TMO Reaches Thousands of Families in Neighborhoods with Lowest Vaccination Rates in Harris, Jefferson and Brazoria Counties

In Harris County, canvassers and leaders have knocked on close to 9,000 doors and spoken with over 2,000 households about the benefits and risks of Covid-18 vaccines in two areas with high percentages of low-income Latino and African American families and very low rates of vaccination.

In Jefferson County, leaders organized 12 different vaccination events at Beaumont ISD schools, Baptist and Catholic churches, Port Arthur libraries and a museum. Over 450 children and another 200 adults have been vaccinated in four zip codes with the lowest vaccination rates in the state.

In Brazoria County, TMO partnered with Hispanic congregations in Manvel, Alvin and Clute to work with local clinics and pharmacies to provide over 100 vaccinations to adults and children. Both Alvin and Brazos Port ISDs agreed to educate parents about the need for vaccination through their school district newsletter and flyers distributed to parents through schools.

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100 TMO Leaders, Clergy Engage NE Houston Police Around Safety

Over 100 TMO clergy and Leaders from institutions at Our Lady of St. John Catholic Church in Northeast Houston gathered for house meetings to discuss issues around safety and crime in their community.  Houston Police Department officers joined the conversation and committed to working with TMO to build a better relationship with the community.

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Texas IAF Sounds the Alarm: Chapter 313 Loopholes Will Cost State Billions


“It’s like hogs at the trough,” said Bishop John Ogletree, an official with the faith-based Texas Industrial Areas Foundation, which has opposed the arrangements.

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Capital IDEA Houston Raises Wages in Houston from $7 to $24/hour

Executive Director Michelle Paul explains how Capital IDEA Houston transforms lives.  Capital IDEA Houston is a long-term job training program established by TMO.  

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TMO Engages Candidates and Voters Ahead of Primary Runoffs

In advance of May primary runoff elections, TMO organized two nonpartisan accountability sessions with over 300 leaders in West Houston (with candidates for Texas House District 133; US House District 34 and five Spring Branch ISD Board positions) and in the Third Ward (with run-off candidates for Texas House District 147 and the State Board of Education seat representing the Eastern half of Harris County).


Leaders committed to encouraging voter participation by through phone calls, neighborhood walks and institutional announcements. 

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Recognizing the Stranger Draws 123 Leaders in Galveston-Houston Area

Organized by The Metropolitan Organization of Houston (TMO), 123 participants were joined by Bishop Italo Dell'Oro of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston for a two-day 'Recognizing the Stranger' training.  Ministry leaders from 21 parishes of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston participated, as did leaders from the Diocese of Beaumont. 

Recognizing the Stranger training equips immigrant parish leaders with the skills needed to make connections within immigrant communities and with non-immigrant allies, applying the tools of organizing to address issues facing their congregations and communities.

Training sponsors include the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Mission & Ministry Impact, Gulf Coast Leadership Council and the Organizers Institute.

In photo at right, Bishop Italo Dell-Oro recognizes TMO for teaching ministry leaders listening skills through house meetings, particularly with people on the periphery.


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TMO and Texas IAF Orgs Impede Plans to Conceal Chapter 313 Data

Following an opposition campaign by Texas IAF organizations, Comptroller Glenn Hegar is backing away from his proposal to gut Chapter 313 reporting and accountability requirements in the program’s final year of existence. Hegar signaled the change Friday after significant pushback by Chapter 313 critics, including a press conference held by Texas IAF organizations in December, and a barrage of public comments submitted to his office against the proposal, with the largest portion coming from Texas IAF leaders.

During the 2021 Legislative Session, the Texas IAF, along with allies, stopped the reauthorization of Chapter 313, the State’s largest corporate tax subsidy program. Though the current program, which costs taxpayers $1-2 Billion per year, is set to expire in December of 2022, Comptroller Hegar had proposed in November to reduce the reporting requirements on jobs, wages, and overall costs to taxpayers.

“Comptroller Hegar has recognized the voices of voters from across the political spectrum, including our organizations, and now says the data we are concerned will continue to be available,” said Bob Fleming, a leader with The Metropolitan Organization, the IAF affiliate in Houston. “However, we remain vigilant because he says the rules will still be revised and made ‘more efficient’. Given the history of this failed and discontinued program, we need even more transparency and accountability, not less.”


[Photo Credit: Mark Mulligan, Houston Chronicle]

After Backlash, Texas Comptroller Abandons Plan to Hide Details of Controversial Tax Break ProgramHouston Chronicle [pdf]

Network of Texas IAF Organizations, Press Release

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Texas IAF Calls On State Comptroller to Abandon Plan to Gut Chapter 313 Subsidy Accountability Requirements


"Lawmakers have ordered Comptroller Glenn Hegar to wrap up Texas’s biggest corporate tax break program, but he wants to give companies one last gift: an end to public accountability.

Activists, corporate relocation specialists and lawmakers are scrambling to comment on Hegar’s proposal that companies no longer report key data about their progress toward meeting the terms of their property tax abatement agreements.


Interfaith groups that fought the corporate giveaway that hurts Texas children demanded Hegar roll back his plan on Wednesday.


“What is the benefit of less accountability and less transparency?” San Antonio state Senator José Menéndez asked at a Texas Industrial Areas Foundation press conference. “The taxpayer should know how their money is going to be used and what they are getting in exchange.”

[Photo Credit: Mark Mulligan, San Antonio Express News]

Texas Comptroller Proposes Covering Up Corporate Welfare ProgramThe Houston Chronicle [pdf]

Network of Texas IAF Organizations, along with Public Officials, Hold Press Conference to Call on Comptroller Hegar to Abandon Attempt to Gut Chapter 313 Transparency and Accountability, Texas IAF, Texas IAF

Taylor: The Chapter 313 Monster — the Mother of All Corporate Welfare — Revives?San Antonio Express News [pdf]

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TMO Brings 790+ Vaccines to Low-Income Neighborhoods in Harris Co.

In collaboration the Harris County Pubic Health Department and leaders from St. Leo the Great and Our Lady of Grace Catholic Churches, TMO brought over 790 vaccines to overlooked neighborhoods in unincorporated  and low-income areas of Harris County.  

In Aldine, within the county borders, this collaboration was particularly important for parishioners and neighbors of St. Leo the Great Catholic parish, where over 690 people received their first vaccine dose over two events in August. 

In South Houston, leaders from Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church encouraged parishioners to get vaccinated through a combination of pulpit announcements, flyers and after-mass signups.

Said Sylvia Soria, the church secretary of Our Lady of Grace:

“Our parish membership is 99% Latino. Many of our families are working families that can not take time off during the week to get the vaccine across the other side of town.  We’re glad to work with TMO, GCLC, and Harris County Health Department to bring the COVID-19 vaccine on a Saturday to our community.”

Jornada de Vacunación en Ciudad con Gran Población HispanaTelemundo [en español]

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