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Joanna Toole Foundation - Newsletter - November '20

Friends & family, this is from Adrian Toole, Chair of the Joanna Toole Foundation (JTF). As promised, this is the fifth in an occasional newsletter series.

There is a GDPR-compliant sign-up option on our Website, however I'm sure that there are people who would like to be in contact but missed the opportunity so please forward this to anyone and everyone.


  • The last year!
  • Grant News - the money flows out
    • The JFT Emergency Grants
    • The JTF 'Standard' Grants
  • Donation Opportunities
  • The Joanna Toole Ghost Gear Solutions Award
    • 2019
    • 2020
    • 2021
  • Update on Jo's Memorial in Exmouth
  • Jo's Videos
  • News from Cornwall
  • New Advisors
  • Help Wanted
  • A Graduate's Story
  • Finally
    • Prioritising our Planet
    • MOOC Marine Litter
  • Contact Us

The last year!

A year ago (when nobody had heard the word Covid!!!) the original group of trustees were going through the drafts received from solicitors Bates Wells of our constitution and the Charity Commission application and were getting to grips with them. Erica and Livia at Bates Wells guided us through, pro bono, to eventual registration in February. Many thanks to them.

I was working through Joanna's estate with lawyers and heavily engaged with a different set of lawyers over the action against Boeing (no change there!). Vicky and I had returned from our trip to Italy to be at Jo's Master's ceremony. See feature below.

We were making the final arrangements to be present at Heathrow to meet Paul who, with his brother and sister, brought Jo's body back.

The entries for the 2019 Solutions Award had been judged (I was one of the nervous judges) and we were approaching a decision.

After registration with the CC, we had to go through the mill to get a bank account and to register with HMRC only then could we set up the CAF donations portal and every turn required additional paperwork!

For world Oceans Day on June 8th, we were able to put together on our website a video launch of the Foundation that included an endorsement from Environment Minister Zac Goldsmith and amazing clips from the two winners of the 2019 Solutions Award. The videos are still on our website so have a look if you've not done so before.

With financial backing from World Animal Protection and help from GGGI, the 2020 round of the Solutions Award has closed with 11 applications being assessed. We have launched our own grants program, which was recently enhanced with a Covid-19 emergency facility that was intended to help the many animal charities struggling in recent months. See features below.

With Joanna's estate now sorted out we have funds to support our grants programmes and have adopted a five-year financial plan.

GGGI and OceanCare appointed Jenna Schwerzmann in the USA as the first Joanna Toole Intern. She has managed to start work despite all the current difficulties and here is an interview she gave to BBC radio:

We appointed two more trustees so that our board is now myself, Vicky Toole as treasurer, Alex Elliot, Georgina Groves, and Claire Bass. We've been assisted all along by advisor Dr Mark Simmonds and we are anticipating appointing three additional advisors, experts in particular fields.

We are in debt not only to Erica and Livia at Bates Wells but also to Rob and colleagues at Simmons and Simmons who have been helping us recently with the contracts also at no cost!

Many people have contributed along the way and the trustees with to thank everyone who has helped us to get where we are today. Tomorrow we will go from strength to strength. Jo would be proud.

Grant News - the money flows out

Not many organisations can be so pleased to see money flowing out but we exist to give grants that would further Jo's work so yes, we are pleased to have distributed our first grants. This is what all the hard work is all about!

The JFT Emergency Grants

It became clear to the Trustees that in this Covid crisis a lot of charities were struggling to keep up their income but at the same time were facing increased costs and tightened labour resources. Animal charities (apart from Zoos) have not been the object of government largess and we had been told that some were failing financially and animals were in danger of neglect.

Accordingly we opened an emergency grants program for amounts up to £3000. This was very successful and we read many stories of hardship from all over the world. Of the 15 applications reviewed by our Trustees at our meeting on 24 September, we will be giving a grant to the majority and as a consequence we will be exceeding our budget and have had to close the program. We are pleased however that we are directly helping animals. The following have been approved and are in-process of being paid. Follow the links for some early reports-back:

  • British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), UK

  • Rancho Universo Cozumel Sanctuary, Mexico

  • Flicker Foundation, UK

  • Blue Rose Ranch, USA

  • Colobus Conservation, Kenya; through Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA)

  • Prickles and Paws Hedgehog Rescue, UK

  • Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust, Uganda

  • Lilongwe Wildlife Trust, Malawi; through (PASA)

  • Vervet Monkey Foundation, South Africa; through (PASA)

  • Kilimanjaro Animal C.R.E.W., Tanzania

The JTF 'Standard' Grants

The Trustees will be considering applications three times a year and with the September deadline having passed, we are considering thirteen now. Most of these applications are for our maximum advertised grant of £15k. They cover a great variety of excellent projects and animal species, ranging form a proposal to reduce meat in school meals to saving the vaquita in Mexico. These will be difficult to adjudicate between and we can't afford to support all!

Donation Opportunities

As you've seen money is flowing out and we are helping animals daily & directly but we have to be thinking of how money is going to be flowing IN!

We are suggesting the CAF donations portal:

Or here is an easy way for you supporters to refill the bank; who doesn't shop with Amazon? I certainly do so now Amazon Smile will donate 0.5% of your purchase prices to the JTF at no extra cost to you. When you want to browse Amazon please use this link. It tells you all about it:

Amazon Smile link

Jo was always into these kind of opportunities although I have to admit I never used any of the vouchers she used to send me; I don't think we shared the same fashion sense! Give it a try and we'll be grateful to learn of any other similar offers.

The Joanna Toole Ghost Gear Solutions Award

The Joanna Toole Annual Ghost Gear Solutions Award is made possible by support from World Animal Protection, the Global Ghost Gear Initiative and Ocean Conservancy. and continues the work started by Claire, Joanna and the team at World Animal Protection.


Last year produced two winners for projects aiming to rid the oceans of ghost fishing gear ,firstly the UK registered charity, the International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF). IPNLF are working in collaboration with the Olive Ridley Project to implement a pilot project in the Maldives, with the aim of motivating small-scale tuna fishers to remove ghost fishing nets from their seas. Here is an update from them.

The second winner is the Stand Out For Environment Restoration (SOFER) Initiative. Based in Nigeria, SOFER raises environmental awareness by working with young people, providing practical ways to change behaviours for the better. SOFER have receive a grant for their ‘Fishing Net Gains Nigeria’ Project. Ocean Conservancy's blog post on SOFER


The 2020 round closed in September and produced 11 entrants, all of whom expressed confidence that they will be able to run their projects despite the global health emergency, a great example of the spirit of those involved in our work! The 11 entries encompass a big range of proposed activities, some focussed on working with local maritime communities, from the tropics to the arctic and others are developing amazing technical innovations. I was one of the team tasked with picking out the five top contenders. these five proposals are now to be put to the GGGI's Expert Advisory Council for a final decision.

The $40k award generously granted by World Animal Protection will again this year be augmented by an additional amount given by an organisation wishing to memorialise Joanna by supporting GGGI for the second highest scoring project.


You'll be impressed that the partners are already planning the next round! Next year's award is still generously financed by World Animal Protection.

Update on Jo's Memorial in Exmouth

I will have told you that for the past year I've been looking for a design and for a location for a permanent memorial to Jo in Exmouth. This will now happen, Devon County Council, through our local councillors, have agreed that I can modify/improve a bench on the Exe Estuary trail, which was one of Jo's exercise routes. I will try to get this work done over the winter so that we can arrange a run/walk/cycle on Sunday 7th March, Jo's birthday. Here's its setting at low-tide, looking up-river:

Jo's Videos

I have collected several videos of Jo doing work-things and can make them available on request. I should like to learn of any more that may exist?

News from Cornwall

On the downside following link is to the court appearance of the man who bred, amongst others, Vicky's dog Sam who thankfully now has a fine home and is thriving:

alleged Illegal dog breeding

On the plus side, our friends Emily and Rob Stevenson are keep up the good work and still plugging away against corporate inaction to get the go-ahead for the Joanna Toole Ocean Education Centre at Treyarnon! Beach guardians in the news

New Advisors

We are grateful that three more wonderful, talented, and dedicated people have agreed to be advisors to the Foundation, joining the original Mark Simmonds. These are Elizabeth Hogan, Sigi Leuber, and Sienna Lula Somers.

I will pass onto you, over the next few issues, the bios that they have provided, starting with Elizabeth:

Elizabeth Hogan has dedicated her career to ocean conservation, specializing in marine wildlife entanglement and ocean plastic pollution, in addition to work on sustainable fisheries, whaling policy, and wildlife in captivity. Elizabeth ran the Oceans and Wildlife program at World Animal Protection in the United States for seven years, where she researched the impact of derelict fishing gear on marine ecosystems and wildlife, and established rescue networks and protocols for entangled marine mammals. To respond to these issues, she collaborated with Joanna and their Oceans program teammates to found the Global Ghost Gear Initiative, a worldwide coalition of scientists, NGOs, government agencies and seafood companies dedicated to policies, projects, and evidence-building to address the loss of fishing gear and mitigate its effects on ocean ecosystems and wildlife. For many years, Elizabeth was fortunate to work with Jo, her friend as well as colleague, on ghost gear research and solutions projects around the world, in addition to global policy on ghost gear and ocean plastic at the United Nations and UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Elizabeth has previously worked with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) on wildlife protection policies and fishing gear modification for the conservation of North Atlantic Right Whales. Previously, Elizabeth has worked for government, corporate, and non-profit organizations on climate change, deforestation policy, and sea level rise. She has also worked in ecotourism and aquaculture development in Ecuador and with the Camara de Industrias of Costa Rica to assist Central American businesses in adopting environmentally sustainable business practices. More recently, Elizabeth has worked as a consultant and conducted field research on ocean conservation for organizations including USAID, Pew Charitable Trusts, CSIRO, and the Aquarium Conservation Partnership, and provides ocean policy recommendations for US political campaigns.

Elizabeth is a contributing author to three books on corporate social responsibility and has published original research on pinniped entanglement and lost fishing gear as a hazard to marine wildlife. She has a degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, a dual Master of Science in Marine & Coastal Natural Resources from the University for Peace in Costa Rica, and a Master of Science in Sustainable Development from American University in Washington, DC. [I had to look it up also; a pinniped is a seal, sea-lion, or walrus: Ed]

Happy days: World Animal Protection activists, L to R, Jo, Audrey Mealia, and Elizabeth enjoying a baseball match!

Help Wanted

We have to find an 'Independent Financial Reviewer' at year end so hoping someone with financial experience will volunteer to help us. The task will be simple, promise. No cash transactions anticipated and to date nobody has even claimed any expences!

A Graduate's Story

When Vicky, Paul, and I were in Italy to receive Jo's Masters Award, over a year ago now, we did of course meet the other students graduating with the Masters in Management of Sustainable Development Goals, Peris Francis was one of those. She has written a memoir for us:

'My first encounter with Joanna was on 13th October 2018, this was the first time I had set foot in Europe at the orientation day for the Masters in Management of Sustainable development Goals. Shortly after Introducing ourselves to the group, we had a break during which Jo approached me, and with her big warm smile she said "Your African attire is attractive and colourful just like nature; from your introduction you will be a great woman leader and a sustainability champion in Kenya."

From her remarks, I knew she is a person that saw the potential different people had and She encouraged them to pursue their goals relentlessly. Jo fostered togetherness of the classmates by forming a group where we would meet every Monday afternoon for a drink as we catch up on the many different things we were going through at the time and we also got to interact and got know each other on a personal level. In our hearts and minds She still remains the uniting pillar, her actions and memory continue to be a reference point hence a library of the present and the future.

Career wise, Joanna’s love and passion for animals and their conservation was evident not just from her talks but from her day to day activities inside and outside FAO. I remember when she attended one of the UN conferences in Nairobi, she sent me a text saying that she had fallen in love with Kenya because my government had a plastic ban law and such measures would prevent more plastic going into the oceans.

Just like Joanna, I travel a lot for work missions to Kenya, Ethiopia, Zambia among other African countries to ensure replication and sustainability of the Renewable Energy Projects at RES4Africa Foundation that’s based in Italy where I work as project sustainability analyst. My role has been to organise a Vocational Capacity building and training project called The Micro-Grid Academy whose aim is to create a skilled and conscious workforce to deploy decentralized renewable energy solutions in the East African region and beyond, thus enhancing access to clean energy in rural communities while fostering Local enterprises and Job creation. Correspondingly, this positively impacts on health and education, female empowerment, environmental protection and climate change mitigation, as well as reliable water and food production by the UN SDGs framework.

During our graduation in Milan, I asked my fellow graduates to embrace things that they loved in Jo and to pick something that she wanted to accomplish and push through with It. I remember us talking about Yoga, I took on Yoga and it has become my go to therapy for meditation, flexibility, fitness and overall body health. # BeLikeJo '


A couple of notes to end on:

Prioritising our Planet

The Garfield Weston Foundation is one of the most respected and best-resourced UK grant-making bodies. It has commissioned this report on the environment-focussed charity sector titled 'Prioritising our Planet'. One of it's conclusions is that communications is key!

In that spirit I recommend you browse our Tweets @JoannaTooleFdn and Our blog on the website.

MOOC Marine Litter

Wish me luck with my recently commenced MOOC 'Marine Litter'. I'm expected to do assignments! Help!

Contact Us

You will find an 'unsubscribe' option at the foot of this mailing.

Please note that as a grant-making charity, the trustees do not work on this full-time so may take a little time to get back to you. Also we are now operating as a .org rather than a .com so please note new contact details.

Best wishes Adrian

The Joanna Toole Foundation

The Joanna Toole Foundation

++44 7563 273600

++44 1395 274021

31 Egremont Road, Exmouth,

Devon EX8 1RX, England

Chair Adrian Toole

Registered in England as charity 1188031

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