The Foundation

Mission Statement 

To continue the global work of campaigner Joanna Toole in advancing the welfare of animals, in particular that of marine fauna. We achieve this through grants for practical action and training, for education on anthropogenic threats, and for scientific research.


The founding trustees are:

Adrian Toole

Adrian, Joanna’s Father and the JTF Chair, is a long-term environmental campaigner with career experience in the marine industries. Adrian has picked up on the ideas generated in brain-storming by Joanna’s friends in the immediate aftermath of her death and is taking a leading role in founding and financing the charity.

Alyx Elliott

Alyx is a senior campaigner and strategist with an academic background in animal and bio-ethics. Throughout her career she has lead local and global campaigns teams and directly implemented international campaigns to improve the welfare of both wild and farmed animals. Her skills include strategy development, partnership building, team leadership, lobbying, campaign messaging, policy development, research and communications.

In 2019, Alyx moved into a new position as Director of Strategy at Petals, the Baby Loss Counselling Charity. She is also a freelance charity campaigner and strategist. 

Alyx met Jo when they both joined the World Society for the Protection of Animals (now World Animal Protection) as Campaigns Officers, in 2006, where they became life-long friends. 

Georgina Groves

Georgina has over 20 years of experience working for animal welfare, research and conservation organisations, including Bristol University Research, the Natural History Museum, London, World Animal Protection and the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums. She is a member of the Zoological Society of London’s animal welfare committee, is a Species Survival Network (SSN) Animals in Captivity Working Group member and an International Veterinary Students’ Association Animal Welfare Committee Patron. 

Georgina is one of the Founders and Executive Director of Wild Welfare, an international charity dedicated to improving captive wild animal welfare and is responsible for the operational, communication and financial strategies as well as delivering international animal welfare training workshops.

Georgina is also an acting animal welfare consultant in projects spanning Pakistan, Japan and South America as well as being PRINCE2 trained and has overseen major statutory grant bids as well as public and foundation fundraising strategy programmes.

Jo and Georgina started at World Animal Protection (then called WSPA) around the same time in 2006. Both being fledgling campaigners, they instantly became firm friends, bonding over their love for both animals, exploring the delights of London and in their spare time, enjoyed plenty of cocktails and chips! After Georgina left World Animal Protection, her and Jo remained firm friends, supporting each other through their respective career highs and lows and personal lives.

Victoria Toole

Victoria, Joanna’s sister, witnessed Joanna’s love for animals develop as she went from a young enthusiast to a professional animal welfare campaigner and advocate. As such, she is pleased to be on the board of Trustees for the Foundation, motivated to continue Joanna’s work to protect the world’s oceans and the life they contain. 

Victoria is a project management professional with experience on large international development programmes, particularly with an environmental focus. Victoria has taken different roles within these programmes, working in Human Resource Management, logistics, and budget management, operating in some high risk and complex environments. Additionally, Victoria is in the final stages of completing a masters in Policy Research, focusing particularly on qualitative research methods, and gender policies. 

Victoria is taking the role of Treasurer for the Joanna Toole Foundation.

Claire Bass

Claire has worked as a campaigner and lobbyist for animal protection organisations since 2004, with over ten years specifically focused on marine mammal protection. Between 2006 and 2014 she worked for World Animal Protection, latterly as Head of Wildlife Campaigns, and it was in this role that she recruited Jo as a campaigner. Together, they co-founded the Global Ghost Gear Initiative, which held its inaugural meeting in Ljubljana in 2014. 

As well as developing and launching World Animal Protection’s successful international ghost gear campaign, Jo and Claire worked closely for many years on key marine mammal welfare issues, including challenging commercial whaling and dolphin captivity. Together, they lobbied member nations of the International Whaling Commission, including working closely with the UK government to advance and secure an ambitious Animal Welfare Action Plan.

Since 2015 Claire has been the Executive Director of animal welfare charity Humane Society International UK, responsible for the organisation’s strategic planning, budgets and operational management, campaigns, fundraising, communications, and day-to-day governance. She is also Chair of Wildlife and Countryside Link’s Animal Welfare Strategy Group and is leading lobbying efforts within the Better Deal for Animals campaign.


Mark Peter Simmonds

Mark Peter Simmonds OBE is a marine biologist and environmental scientist who has spent the better part of his career working on threats to marine wildlife. He has worked in both the non-governmental and university sectors and produced scientific papers spanning a wide range of issues, including persistent organic pollution, noise pollution, marine debris and climate change. He has also worked on the combined effects of such factors in our rapidly changing oceans.  His published works span a range of marine biota including whales, dolphins, seals, turtles and birds. He is the author/editor of a number of books (none of them best-sellers).

He has recently convened and chaired the third workshop on marine debris held under the auspices of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and has successfully run a number of other workshops for the IWC. He also chairs the UK’s Marine Animal Rescue Coalition and the Whale Working Group of Wildlife and Countryside Link.

Mark’s contributions were recognised in 2013 in HRH Queen Elizabeth’s birthday honours when he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for his work in environmental science and marine mammal conservation.

Mark also has many years’ experience of working within the auspices of international conventions, including the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species and some of its marine daughter agreements, IWC and CITES (the international wildlife trade convention).

He is a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Bristol and the Senior Marine Scientist for the Humane Society International.

Mark and Jo were friends as well as colleagues and often worked together on issues, including the topic of marine debris, and often at the big international meetings of the Whaling Commission and other conventions. Mark says of Jo, that her great sense of fun often made the work go easier and she was also smart and tenacious. Jo’s determination to make things better for animals often helped to carry the rest of us along! She is much missed.