Harnessing the power of the many

Mission: Working collaboratively to advance marine protection and social enterprise

The Gallifrey Foundation practices “venture philanthropy”


Marine Protection

The Gallifrey Foundation seeks to identify collaborative opportunities to tackle the most pressing ocean conservation issues facing us today. There are many organisations already deeply involved in the issues we care about and our mission is to assist them by identifying synergies that could be exploited and roadblocks that could be overcome by working together. Our model of engagement is to partner with organisations.

The Gallifrey Foundation practices “venture philanthropy”

This is characterised by:
• Focusing on measurable results
• Building capacity with a long term view
• Willingness to experiment and “try new approaches”
• Contributing financial, intellectual, and high personal involvement


The Gallifrey Foundation seeks to foster social enterprise, applying commercial strategies to improve human and environmental well-being, rather than simply maximising profits for external shareholders. The Gallifrey Foundation supports several scholarships for a variety of students from primary, university and post-graduate education. In addition, the Gallifrey Foundation supports selected research in social enterprise.

We encourage collaboration between other organisations to:

• Eliminate overlapping efforts
• Fill the gaps where they exist
• Achieve our mutual objectives through collaboration

The Gallifrey Foundation does not solicit funds or grant proposals.


Key Issues



Only the Arctic Ocean, hasn’t been fished, polluted, drilled into for oil, gas or polluted by ships. Let’s keep it that way.

Climate Change

At the front line of climate change, the ocean plays a central role in regulating the Earth’s climate – a critical role we must protect for our own sake.

Deep Sea Mining

There are sources of minerals in the deep sea but we must first understand how to manage and mitigate the risks that come with extracting them.

Plastic Pollution

Our demand for plastic has turned this into an environmental and public health nightmare. The impact affects the creatures of the sea and humans too.



  • Health Issues Infographics
  • Deep Sea Mining
  • Primary Micro-Plastics in the Oceans
  • Marine Education
  • Sea Fever
  • Plastic Free Campus
  • Plastics Pollution – Azores
  • Plastics Pollution - Maldives
  • Plastics Pollution - Jordan
  • Arctic

Health Issues Infographics

For those of us involved in marine conservation, we start by looking at the effects of plastics and microplastics on fish.  We quickly realise that there are two issues:

  1. POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants), such as pesticides and PCBs that bind with micro-plastics, are ingested by marine organisms and accumulate up the food chain.  This process, known as bioaccumulation or biomagnification, can also affect humans.
  2. Some plastics used in food and drink packaging contain endocrine disruptors that leach into food and drink and are a potential time bomb. Already we are seeing direct consequences of certain additives and plasticizers on fertility and early pubescence.

These two findings then cause us to reframe a marine pollution issue as an urgent public health issue.  Please see more in the excellent report by CIEL.


Available in three layouts and two digital formats, PDF and PNG:


HOW AND WHAT PDF                                       HOW AND WHAT PNG



1 EXTRACTION PDF                                           1 EXTRACTION PNG
2 MANUFACTURE PDF                                      2 MANUFACTURE PNG
3 CONSUMPTION PDF                                       3 CONSUMPTION PNG
4 WASTE PDF                                                        4 WASTE PNG



A3 PORTRAIT BLUE PDF                                    A3 PORTRAIT BLUE PNG
A3 PORTRAIT GREEN PDF                                 A3 PORTRAIT GREEN PNG
A3 PORTRAIT ORANGE PDF                              A3 PORTRAIT ORANGE PNG




Deep Sea Mining

When we ask ourselves to consider if we have been good stewards of our natural resources we must admit we have not always lived up to our potential.

When we look at the oceans these failures are manifest; 90% of the large fish have been fished to unsustainable levels. Our fishing fleets have scoured vast parts of the seabed and destroyed vital habitats and ecosystems, we are dumping an estimated eight million tons of plastic into the oceans every year creating enormous gyres of plastic waste, fish, birds and other marine animals are being choked and suffocated by this waste. No, we have to admit we have not done a good job.

There is, however, one area where it is not too late and where we have the chance to get it right – the deep sea.

To lay out the issues and suggest a responsible way forward the Gallifrey Foundation has produced in collaboration with the IUCN “Deep seabed mining – A rising environmental challenge”

Download Report



Primary Micro-Plastics in the Oceans

Plastic has penetrated everyday life: from clothing to coatings and from transport vehicles to cleaning products. Plastic is cheap, durable, lightweight and malleable, resulting in a practically unlimited number of possible applications. The disadvantages of plastics however are becoming more and more visible. Large quantities of plastics leak into rivers and oceans, with adverse effects to marine ecosystems and related economic activities

Plastic wastes include all size residues, from large visible and easily removable items, to small invisible particles. This report investigates the sources of primary microplastics; i.e. microplastics that are directly released into the environment as small plastic particles (< 5 mm size).

The Gallifrey Foundation has supported the research and production of this report.

Download Report

Marine Education

The majority of educational resources that explain the issue of plastic pollution are created in English and largely directed at children in developed countries.

To address this gap for children in the developing world, the Gallifrey Foundation engaged PCI Media Impact to create a new comic series based on SDG Goal 14 – Life Below Water. Already produced in several languages including Hindi and Bahasa Indonesian and distributed via Ministries of Education this project is helping to raise the profile of this issue in national curricula and promote a sense of individual responsibility and encourage action to reduce marine debris. Behaviour change at a young age can instil habits and a sense of environmental citizenship for life.


Poseidon Patrol – the original


Poseidon Patrol – Reef Riders


If you are interested in printer-ready versions of the comics, please write to: info@mediaimpact.org Poseidon Patrol – SDG 14.

Sea Fever

The greatest danger to the oceans is not pollution, acidification or overfishing but the ignorance and apathy that allows these incidents to occur in the first place. To promote a better understanding of the oceans’ importance, the Foundation commissioned Sea Fever – People and their Ocean Planet.

Written by the Foundation’s Advisor on Marine Programs, Dr. Luc Cuyvers, Sea Fever – People and their Ocean Planet examines how we have used (and sometimes abused) the ocean throughout the centuries.

Download Book

Plastic Free Campus

The Gallifrey Foundation has developed Plastic Free Campus, working with international schools to mobilise student action on single-use plastics consumption. This has involved closely working with our pilot schools to establish the best way to create change at four levels: in the curriculum, in the school community, in cross-campus and inter-school networks and in larger institutional bodies like the International Baccalaureate Organisation. The self-directed programme is now available online and will scale globally.

Plastics Pollution – Azores

The Gallifrey Foundation funded the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) research project. Establishing a Baseline on Marine Litter in the Azores – AZORLIT in collaboration with IMAR Center of the University of the Azores, the Observatory of the Azores (OMA and the Regional Directorate for Maritime Affairs (DGRAM).

Download 2016 Report

Download 2018 Follow-up Report

Plastics Pollution - Maldives

The Gallifrey Foundation has collaborated with IUCN Maldives to carry out a local Reef Guardian project, a community-oriented project to encourage sustainable reef behaviour. Working with the Maldivian Ministry of Education, changes to the national curriculum are being proposed in order to better institutionalize education on this topic and encourage youth-led action.

Plastics Pollution - Jordan

The Gallifrey Foundation has worked with Experience Jordan to develop plastic free hikes on the Jordan Trail. This has required rethinking how meals and water are sourced and delivered along this multi-day hike. Hikers have been encouraged to collect trash along the way.

As much as this may seem counter-intuitive, limiting plastic waste, even in the desert, makes sense because over the centuries as these materials break down into smaller and smaller pieces they will be flushed from the wadis and streams eventually into the sea. “Pick up a piece of litter in the desert and save a fish”.


By the middle of the century the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free for at least part of the year, confronting humanity with a dilemma:  exploit the Arctic Ocean the way we have exploited all of the ocean, or keep it untouched, the way it has been for thousands of years.

The Gallifrey Foundation is strongly committed to the second option: an option which would ensure we hand over at least one part of the ocean in the shape we received it.  To help the many organizations that share this goal become more effective, the Gallifrey Foundation supports programs that coordinate and maximize cooperation among them.  No single organization can protect the Arctic from development.  Only by all of us working together do we stand a chance of being heard.



Research in Social Enterprise

A solution to the financial challenges facing micro-entrepreneurs in Ghana is the objective of a research project from London Business School led by Professor Rajesh Chandy, The Tony & Maureen Wheeler Chair in Entrepreneurship and Academic Director of the Business for Development Institute supported by the Gallifrey Foundation. The research project will identify the effectiveness of different loan products designed to give micro-enterprises the boost they need to become successful small and medium enterprises. Half of the businesses in the study are offered a ‘locked-in’ product, where the loan funds must be invested in business assets focused on enhancing productivity such as new equipment, inventory or vehicles. The other half of the businesses are offered the second ‘unlocked’ product, where the loan funds are unrestricted and the entrepreneur can decide how they would like to spend the money. The researchers will be tracking each of the businesses over time to compare the effects of the two loan types on how the entrepreneurs manage money, how their businesses perform, and how they and their families are affected by this.

The Salient

The Salient is a film about one of the most contested spots of the Great War: the half circle north and east of Ypres that protruded into enemy territory and became known as the Ypres Salient. Less than five miles wide, more than a million people were killed or wounded in this small area during four years of bitter fighting. In due time the Salient came to symbolize every description heard in conjunction with the Great War: sacrifice, courage, honor and duty just as much as chaos, slaughter, calamity and utter senselessness. The Gallifrey Foundation support allows the film to be made available at no cost to schools worldwide.  Click here for more information on the film and download links: The Salient



  • Antoinette Vermilye - Co-Founder
  • John Vermilye - Co-Founder
  • Luc Cuyvers
  • Kristina M. Gjerde - High Seas & Deep Ocean Specialist
  • Olga Navarro - Administrator Plastic Free Campus
  • Liz Schmid - Manager Plastics Projects
  • Alexis McGivern - Marine Programme Officer, Emeritus

Antoinette Vermilye - Co-Founder

Antoinette has specialised on communications, marketing, graphic and interior design. She is passionate about marine conservation issues and has been an active participant in supporting the work of the IUCN, International Union for the Conservation of Nature. This includes a baseline study of marine plastics in the Azores, public awareness and action to reduce marine plastics in the Maldives and a study of micro-plastics in the oceans. She leads the Foundation’s Marine Plastics programme and the impact of plastics on human health.

John Vermilye - Co-Founder

A graduate of Harvard University and alumnus of the London Business School, John’s career has been built around the airline industry. He is the owner and Chairman of Travel Sentry which sets standards for the luggage and airline industry and provides solutions which benefit passengers, airlines, airports, security agencies and customs. John has been active in marine conservation issues since co-founding the Mare Nostrum Foundation in the 1980s and serves on the Board of Sylvia Earle’s Mission Blue.

Luc Cuyvers

A graduate of New College, Luc earned his Ph.D in Marine Policy from the University of Delaware. He is the author of several books on marine issues and produced a number of significant documentaries on ocean topics, including he Blue Revolution, Sea Power and Setting Sail. Aside from his media work, he is an Associate Professor at the Netherlands Maritime University, where he teaches a graduate course on Ocean Management and Marine Policy. Among Luc’s many published works are Sea Fever and the IUCN Report – Deep seabed mining – A rising environmental challenge. See Section 2 – Marine Protection to download these.

Kristina M. Gjerde - High Seas & Deep Ocean Specialist

Kristina M. Gjerde is Senior High Seas Advisor to IUCN’s Global Marine and Polar Programme, adjunct professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California, chair of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas High Seas Specialist Group and co-lead of the Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative (DOSI), a multidisciplinary scientific partnership.

Kristina received her Juris Doctor from New York University School of Law with a focus on comparative and international law, and practiced admiralty law for several years in a New York law firm.

Kristina has authored or co-authored over 150 publications, many with leading ocean scientists.  Among Kristina’s recent articles are: “An Ocean of Opportunity” in Science Magazine; “The long and winding road: negotiating a treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction,” published by IDDRI; and “Protect the Neglected Half of our Blue Planet” in Nature.  From 2013-2016, Kristina was part of the EU funded MIDAS project—Managing Impacts of Deep Sea Resource Exploitation — and led development of the final report “Implications of MIDAS research results for policy makers: implications for future regulations.”

Olga Navarro - Administrator Plastic Free Campus

Graduated as a Civil and Environmental Engineer, Olga’s strong passion for the environment led her to earn a Master’s degree, gaining extensive experience in Water Project Management in Europe. Driven by sustainability – particularly for plastic pollution issues – she was instrumental in co-creating the Drop It, Re-think Plastic Campaign in the Middle East in 2016. She now manages the Drop it Youth Campaign from Switzerland, empowering students to raise awareness and take action on single-use-plastics. As a Coordinator for The Plastic Free Campus Programme Olga is delighted to combine her sustainability expertise and her current goals to make global impact.

Liz Schmid - Manager Plastics Projects

Effective communication is at the heart of success and it is what leads us all to change, develop and believe. And knowing what to communicate is essential. As a journalist with ABC News in San Francisco, I learned how to spot what makes a great story, how to tell that story and how to work in a team to bring that story to target audiences. I learned that this process was an art, and I have been striving to perfect that art ever since. Following my journalism years, I have worked as a communication and public relations officer for IUCN, WWF, United Nations agencies and many other NGOS and foundations, using the same strategic skills to communicate what needs to be said in a way that it will be received with maximum impact. Communication, whether it be print, digital or interpersonal, whether it be at the grassroots or global level, will continue to play an essential role in our efforts to address the world’s environmental problems. And my belief in its power continues to fuel my passion for it.

Alexis McGivern - Marine Programme Officer, Emeritus

Alexis earned her MA in International Relations from the University of St. Andrews. Alexis is travelling the world before heading to Oxford to start her double Master’s MBA and Sustainability. You can follow her on Lexiseestheworld

During her tenure at the Gallifrey Foundation she was a Marine Programme Officer at the IUCN in a position funded by the Foundation. Amongst other Gallifrey projects she specialised in plastics issues, especially closing the tap and promoting zero waste and sustainability. She is the creator and lead on the Plastic Free Campus project which is now scaling across multiple sectors and geographies.


John Vermilye


We work with others to foster collaboration and achieve our mutual goals more effectively

Mission Blue

The Klosters Forum




WWF International