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!