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 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.

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 previous Executive Director of Wild Welfare, an international charity dedicated to improving captive wild animal welfare and was responsible for the operational, communication and financial strategies. She is an international speaker, specialising in animal welfare and ethics in exotic animal care and also delivers bespoke animal welfare training workshops. Georgina is currently an animal welfare strategy consultant in projects spanning, Pakistan, Japan, SE Asia and South America, focusing on charitable and programme capacity building and captive animal welfare support.

Georgina met Jo when they both worked at World Animal Protection, quickly bonding over their love for all animals, and cocktails.

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.

Nigel Gooding, CBE


Nigel is a former senior civil servant having worked for over 40 years in UK government on a range of key policy and delivery roles.  
As Head of Marine Biodiversity, Nigel led the policy for the implementation of the UK’s first marine conservation zones.  He was also UK Commissioner to the International Whaling Commission where he worked closely with Joanna on a wide range of whaling and other cetacean issues, including animal welfare.    Nigel’s other roles in government included CEO of the Marine and Fisheries Agency and Head of UK Fisheries Policy and Negotiations.
Nigel was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to the marine environment in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2019.
Nigel is also Chair of the Board of Trustees for Croydon Vision (Croydon Voluntary Association for the Blind).


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.

Elizabeth Hogan


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.

Sigrid Lueber


Sigrid was born and grew up in Switzerland where she still lives. She worked for 20 years in the administration & finances and PR & communications departments of international companies. Then, in 1989, her life suddenly changed following a touching encounter with a school of dolphins when diving in the Indian Ocean. In the same year, together with a handful of like-minded people, she founded the international organisation OceanCare, for which she has served as president ever since.

Sigrid’s passion and goal is the global preservation of oceans and the species within them. This focus has driven her to work hard to ensure OceanCare’s voice is heard within various high level inter-governmental fora and resulted in numerous successes influencing international ocean policy. Since 1992, Sigrid has participated in conferences of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) advocating for an end to commercial whaling and promoting the growth of the IWC’s conservation and welfare agendas.

Since 2004, Sigrid has also been playing an active role in all United Nations (UN) related bodies dealing with ocean governance and policy. Sigrid builds and maintains excellent relationships with decision-makers both nationally and internationally. Owing to her cooperation with the UN and in recognition of the organisation’s expertise and credibility, OceanCare was awarded Special Consultative Status by the United Nations Economic and Social Council in 2011.

Most recently, since 2015, OceanCare has been accredited to the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) as part of the Science & Technology Major Group to UNEA, the world’s highest-level decision-making body on environmental issues. In 2016 her organization also became a partner of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the FAO/ General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), followed by a partnership with UNEP/MAP and the Abidjan Convention in 2019.

Sigrid’s profound knowledge about the seas and the legal basis of international ocean conservation is self-taught and based on her many years of experience. With her visionary sense for upcoming issues and her well balanced combination of pragmatism, knowledge, commitment, courage and perseverance, she was instrumental in making OceanCare an organisation widely respected by international bodies and scientific professionals worldwide. The well-being of humans, nature, and animals have always been close to Sigrid’s heart.
Sigrid Lueber met Joanna Toole first at IWC meetings. Between 2017 and 2018 Joanna joined OceanCare as an Ocean Policy Consultant and brought her depth of experience of working within high-level, policy making forums including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Maritime Organization to our organization. Sigrid says that it fill her heart with pride and gratefulness to be able to help pursue Joanna’s gaols as a member of the Advisory Committee of the Joanna Toole Foundation.

Sienna Somers


Sienna has an academic background in conservation with a BSc (Hons) in Zoology and an MSc in Conservation Science and Policy from the University of Exeter. She has worked internationally, producing industry-leading research and reports, and has developed campaigns that annually engaged over 2 million citizens and had over 700,000 uses of the campaign hashtags per year on social media.

Currently as the Policy and Advocacy Manager for the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, Sienna leads campaigns to secure 30% of land and sea for nature’s recovery and works with communities to engage in advocacy to stand up for wildlife locally.

Sienna worked for several years as a Policy and Research Coordinator at Fashion Revolution, an international NGO tackling the social and environmental impacts of the fashion industry. Sienna worked with over 150 of the largest fashion brands and has driven them to disclose more information about their social and environmental practices.
Combining her work in fashion and conservation, Sienna’s specific interest is in addressing the release of plastic microfibres by synthetic clothing every time we wash our clothes. In 2018, she was asked by the House of Common’s Environmental Audit Committee to deliver evidence on the impacts of microfibres from textiles on the marine environment for their seminal inquiry into the sustainability of the fashion industry.