Reflections on 2022: Year End Impact Report

A Letter from our Founder & Our Year-End Impact Report

As we approach the end of the year, we once again are reflecting on the progress of both HCF and our partner organizations. Following the annual tradition that we started in 2021, we are excited to share with you our 2022 Impact Report, which is our way of sharing our growth, changes, and impact with our supporters.

HCF Founder, Brett Howell, helps with a river cleanup during CRDC Global's new facility launch in Costa Rica

Project highlights

After two years of being predominantly virtual, we were able to resume in-person work in 2022. This allowed us to reconnect with some of our existing partners, as well as meet new partners for the first time. Our key project highlights this year include:

CRDC Global: This organization collects plastic waste and turns it into a value-added construction material called RESIN8

  • In 2022, we were key participants in the launches of two CRDC facilities, including the U.S. launch in York, Pennsylvania - which we helped to organize and designed a local river cleanup - and the global launch in San Jose, Costa Rica, at which we conducted a site visit and helped with a river cleanup, collecting plastic waste that will be turned into RESIN8.
  • We also supported CRDC Global’s ‘The Bag That Builds’ (TBTB) program in Samoa. This is a joint program with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), for which they received a $30,000 grant for plastic pollution education in Samoa.

Loon Preservation Committee (LPC): Our longest-running partner, LPC helps protect loons in New Hampshire through a Lead Tackle Buy-back (LTB) program, among other initiatives.

  • After five years of support from HCF and others, the LTB program is nearing financial self-sufficiency and has inspired similar programs throughout the northeastern United States. 
  • In August 2022, we were able to meet with the LPC team and see the organization’s work in-person.
  • So far, the LTB program had removed 32,691 pieces of lead fishing tackle weighing a total of 264.6 pounds.

Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation: Blue Ocean Society is our newest partner and a wonderful addition to our network. The organization focuses on cleanup and education around marine ecosystems, and engages “citizen scientists” to collect plastic waste from local beaches. For example, last year the organization re-implemented a fishing line recycling program, and have since collected and recycled 90lb of fishing line from local marinas and tackle shops.

  • We launched our partnership in 2021, supporting the data analysis of their microplastics sampling program.
  • In 2022 we were able to complete our first site visit with Blue Ocean Society and foster the relationship in-person. The organization is in the process of completing their initial analysis and findings. We are excited to share the results once they are published.
  • Blue Ocean Society also is resuming their monthly beach cleanups, which had been put on hold since March 2020 due to the pandemic.
  • You can read more about our partnership on our blog post, Going Deep.

2022 awards, honors, and speaking engagements

In addition to our project work, we were able to increase our visibility and gain recognition for our work and the work of our partners. Here are a few of our accomplishments in this regard:

  • Explorers Club 50 (EC50) Award (April): On Earth Day, our Founder and Executive Director, Brett Howell, traveled to New York City to take his place among this year’s Explorers Club 50 (EC50): Fifty People Changing the World, Class of 2022. You can read more about this honor through our blog post, In Good Company.

  • 1% for the Planet (August): We were accepted to join 1% for the Planet as an environmental partner. This organization accepts only high-impact nonprofits as their partners, and being included in this community is a humbling accomplishment for which we have strived for some time.
  • Exponent Philanthropy Conference (October): We had the privilege of presenting at the Exponent Philanthropy Conference in Minneapolis. Building on our collaboration with the Blackstone Ranch Institute and Exponent Philanthropy, we hosted a workshop on “How to Make Your First Seed-Funding Grant.” Due to the success of the workshop, we will be publishing an article on the topic for Exponent Philanthropy’s broader membership in the coming months.
  • Property & Environment Research Center (PERC) (November): At the “Property Rights, Entrepreneurship, and the Environment” conference in November, we reconnected PERC, the group that helped launch Brett’s work back in 2011. This conference was a great opportunity to reconnect with a like minded group that champions on market-based solutions and spearheads future-forward projects. 
  • Zero Waste International Dialogue in Costa Rica (December): As a result of our successful partnership with CRDC Global, we have been invited to speak at the 10th Zero Waste International Dialogue in December. Keep an eye on our blog page for a post after the trip. 
Brett gives a talk about HCF's work on Henderson Island at the 2022 Explorers Club 50 award ceremony in New York City

Projects on hold

Every startup nonprofit is bound to encounter experiences that did not go as planned, and it is important for both HCF and our partners to be strategic about grantmaking. Below are projects that have been placed on hold in 2022 due to changes in direction:

  • Ocean Plastic Leadership Network (OPLN): In 2021, we began ideating with OPLN around an incubator that would foster meaningful action on cleaning up ocean plastic. However, the OPLN initiative that gained the most momentum is their global treaty dialogues encouraging negotiations on a global plastic treaty. We hope that the discussions around an incubator will resume in the future. HCF remains actively engaged with OPLN, working with them on their convenings throughout the year and helping to expand the reach of their global treaty dialogues.

  • Root Solutions: In late 2021, we began discussions around fiscal sponsorship and a catalytic grant with the San Francisco-based nonprofit, Root Solutions. However, the organization is in a development phase and has a number of possible avenues to success laid out before them. We are putting a hold on making a formal grant until the organization decides which is the best route to take, at which point we will reopen the conversations.

On the horizon

  • Henderson Island: In the near future, we may have an opportunity to return to Henderson Island and continue our cleanup of the world’s most polluted beach. Since our initial trip in 2019, the Pitcairn Islands underwent a change in administration and suffered a shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While in lockdown, further plastic pollution accumulated in the islands, which was covered in a recent article by Stuff, the media partner from our 2019 expedition. Recently, we have begun building a relationship with the new administrator and developing a repeatable process for long-term plastic pollution management

2022 Operational Highlights

  • In 2022, we brought in a new Advisory Board member, Marcus Porter. You can find out more about him and the rest of our Advisory Board on our About Us page.
  • We continued to publish our blog, where we share our updates in the form of longer-format stories. You can keep abreast of these posts on our blog page, and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram for further updates.
  • We also recently sent out our first ever newsletter, which we will use to share updates with our supporters. You can subscribe to our newsletter through the footer of our website.

Thank YOU for your ongoing support

As we wrap up 2022 and get ready for 2023, we look forward to continuing our work with existing collaborators and projects, as well as finding new partners and like-minded organizations. Thank you to all of our supporters, project partners, and collaborators, without whom we could not have accomplished all of our work over the last few years. 

Please get in touch if you would like to learn more about Howell Conservation Fund or make a tax-deductible contribution to support our efforts in 2023 and beyond! 

Happy Holidays!

Brett Howell

Founder & Executive Director

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