Phyllis J. Cohen

Founding Members

Phyllis is a dedicated activist and advocate for progressive values, with particular emphasis on women’s autonomy and rights, democratic processes and voting, and health care access.   Phyllis is Houston-based, but her involvement encompasses local, statewide, and national issues.  Phyllis practiced law for 25 years in Washington, D.C. and Houston, before pivoting to activism and advocacy as a means to protect and advance key human rights values.

Phyllis has been on the National Finance Committee for the Biden, Obama, and Clinton campaigns and has been involved in fundraising for other Democratic candidates, including Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher and Wendy Davis.

Phyllis served as an elected member of the West University City Council from 2005-2009, serving as Mayor Pro Tem from 2005-2007.  She also led the West University Charter Review Task Force and served on its Parks Task Force.

Phyllis has served on many non-profit boards.  She is currently a Board member of Congregation Beth Israel, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, and the Anti-Defamation League-Southwest Region.  She previously served on the board of the Center for Reproductive Rights, an international organization that uses the power of the law to advance reproductive rights as fundamental human rights around the world,  and led its year-long strategic planning effort to develop a new multi-year strategic plan. Phyllis was the Board Chair of Vecino Health Centers (previously Denver Harbor Clinic), a Federally Qualified Health Center, and during her tenure Vecino expanded to pediatric care, opened additional locations and service lines, instituted sophisticated financial processes, and instituted an innovative partnership with the Harris County Hospital District to share the cost of indigent patient care.

Phyllis is a graduate of Leadership Texas, has been honored by the Texas Democratic Women of Harris County with its Women Making History award, has been a member of the grant review panel of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and a Board member of the Shlenker School.  She is a graduate of Kirkland College and a summa cum laude graduate of Syracuse University College of Law. She began her legal career at Arnold & Porter in Washington, DC, and was a partner at Porter & Hedges in Houston, Texas.