The first 50 years

The Ross Trust marks 50 years of giving in 2020-21, recognising some major milestones along the way and never forgetting that one person’s good fortune and generosity can lead to shared prosperity and thriving communities. When Roy Everard Ross left directions for how his Trust should be established it may have been hard to predict in just how many ways his philanthropy would be used wisely to help Victorians thrive. This timeline helps tell the story of how the Ross Trust has worked with the Victorian NFP sector and communities around the state, and influenced where we are today.


Theme: Nature conservation, social welfare, education

The Ross Trust’s is established to act as a custodian of the estate of Roy Everard Ross. The first grants – focusing on nature conservation, social welfare and education – lay the foundations for the next 50 years of granting.


Theme: Social welfare, nature conservation

While the Ross Trust continues its focus on nature conservation, including grants to purchase land for national parks, and refines its granting strategy to have less focus on education and more focus on social welfare.


Theme: Young people, the environment

Overview: As the Ross Trust marks its’ first decade of operation, it narrows its social welfare focus to specifically target young people – starting a relationship with support service Taskforce – while continuing to make substantial environmental grants.


Themes: Medical, conservation, education

The Ross Trust helps hospitals purchase vital equipment, continues to fund conservation and environment programs and establishes the Ross Trust Fellowship Program as part of its commitment to education.


Themes: Emergency relief, Arts, Environment

In its third decade, the Ross Trust begins an emergency relief and crisis response granting program, while supporting various Arts programs and continuing to provide environment grants


Theme: Women and children, Environment

The Ross Trust shifts its focus to support women and children, starting a long relationship with a theatre company working with vulnerable people, while continuing to support environmental programs.


Child health, Social Justice, Environment

In 2001, the Ross Trust begins a series of long-term granting partnerships with a focus on child health, Indigenous employment and training and asylum seekers. The Trust makes a significant grant to help purchase the state’s biggest private conservation property.


Themes: Human Rights, Environment, Place Based – Benalla

While maintaining its granting focus on human rights and the environment, the Trust begins its first series of place-based grants, supporting organisations in the region around Benalla.


Themes: Marginalised youth, Environment , Place based – Gippsland

The Ross Trust moves its place-based granting to Gippsland, while continuing to help vulnerable Victorians and the environment – including giving 47 hectares of bushland to become a conservation reserve.


Theme: Biodiversity, Education, Place-based – Mornington Peninsula

The Ross Trust supports homelessness and family violence and launches a five-year focus on Educational Equity and Biodiversity Conservation. The Trust formalises place-based granting on the Mornington Peninsula


  • Women’s Property Initiatives $200,000 Impact investment loan to help at-risk women and their children to have access to more affordable and stable housing.


  • Save the Children Trust $90,000 children’s wellbeing initiative 

  • Uniting Victoria and Tasmania $75,000 Keeping women and children safe by responding to male perpetrators of family violence 


  • Mornington Peninsula Landcare Network $85,215 for the Dunns Creek Biolink

  • Mornington Peninsula No Limits Program $120,000 over three years for No Limits to Learning program to improve the oral language of pre-school children 

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  • Odonata $200,000 to establish a safe haven for the reintroduction to Victoria of the Eastern Bettong and other priority endemic endangered species within the new Orana Farm Safe Haven 

  • Rosebud West Early Literacy Project $60,000 for Ready to Learn program

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  • Colac Otway Conservation Ecology Centre $500,000 for Wildlife Wonders Impact investment

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  • MacKillop Family Services, Overcoming Educational Disadvantage through Therapeutic Life Story Work - $120,000

  • July 2019 – New five-year strategy released with a refined focus on Educational Equity and Biodiversity Conservation

  • Refugee Legal, Refugee Legal Core Strengthening Project - $300,000

  • SNAICC - National Voice for our Children, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early childhood education – a collaborative advocacy approach - $150,000

  • Stars Foundation $150,000 over three years to expand school-based mentoring and engagement program for First Nations young women in Victoria.

  • Victorian National Parks Association $223,000 over three years for ‘Protecting Victoria’s threatened habitats and species’ project


  • Colman Foundation $300,000 over three years for Our Place program addressing educational under-attainment in Frankston North area

  • Learning Guarantee Project $200,000 to help students in Western Port to transition from primary to secondary school.

  • Melbourne City Mission $500,000 impact investment for the Living Learning program, testing how an integrated mental health and flexible secondary school education model can stabilise mental health and support educational attainment for Victorian young people 

  • Nature Conservancy Australia $287,223 Bringing Back Victoria's Lost Reefs- Port Phillip

  • The Ross Trust formalises a 10-year place-based commitment to the Mornington Peninsula, building on $4.28 million granted to various project from 1971 – 2020 

  • Watertrust Australia Ltd– $1 million over five years made to establish of a National Independent water and catchment policy centre 

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  • Westernport Secondary College $300,000 for MyTech program giving students access to technology


  • Good Beginnings Australia $268 182 Towards the early intervention programs in Gippsland

  • Human Rights Law Centre $100,000 building organisations capacity and recurrent funding for general operations 

  • Place-based work in Gippsland. The strategy focused on the areas of South Gippsland, La Trobe Valley and East Gippsland. Funding was prioritised to support, First Nations people, early years, education, mental health, capacity building and community development. The strategy was refined in 2014. 

  • Welshpool & District Advisory Group Inc $150,000 Towards providing employment pathways and training to strengthening community through social enterprise. 

  • Whitelion $75,000 employment of a mentor coordinator for the Northern Youth Justice mentoring program 

  • Youth Affairs Council of Victoria $75,000 youth mentoring accreditation initiative 


  • Baptcare $20,000 transitional supported accommodation for asylum seekers 

  • Community College Gippsland $50,000 Warragul Youth leadership and engagement program 

  • Conservation Ecology Centre $100,000 purchase of 21 acres of land at Cape Otway to revegetate, restore and improve habitat 

  • River Nile Learning Centre $70,000 capacity building to deliver educational service to young refugees 


  • Gift of the Hillview Bushland Reserve to the Cardinia Shire Council

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  • Lakes Entrance Aboriginal Health Association $160,000 Towards Building organisational capacity in Aboriginal health and well-being.

  • The Smith Family $150,000 Towards the Gippsland Education Partnership Hub


  • Clontarf Academy $90,000 over three years to support school retention for Indigenous students

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  • Museums Victoria towards Connecting community museums; a sustainable network for regional Victoria $150,000

  • Victorian Indigenous Nurseries Cooperative $11,530 seed collection and establishment of nursery populations of locally rare plant species 


  • Koorie Heritage Trust $90,000 new technology for a new era website and database upgrade 

  • Westjustice to provide youthlaw services at the Grange Hoppers Crossing $40,000

  • Willum Warrain $60,000 over two years to employ program co-ordinator to help keep culture strong in Mornington Peninsula’s Indigenous community

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  • Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre $118,848 towards addressing gaps in provision to Horn of Africa men 

  • Child Wise $61,000 for family education strategy 


  • Foundation for Young Australians $621,000 towards equity and quality in public education 

  • Human Rights Law Centre $483,295 from 2007-29 primarily for organisational capacity. 


  • State Library Victoria $450,000 towards the Victorian Map series creating online cataloguing records 

  • Wettenhall Environmental Trust $740,000 from 2008-19 for small environmental grants to go towards flora and fauna conservation 


  • Operation Newstart, project worker to support students returning to school - $90,000

  • SANE Australia, reporting on people affected by mental illness - $30,000

  • STREAT, employment of disadvantaged young people at the STREAT social enterprise café - $25,000

  • Tomorrow Today Foundation $1 million from 2009-18 for the Education Benalla program over a decade

  • Victorian Association for the Care & Resettlement of Offenders VACRO, Children of Offenders support Program - $600,000


  • Brotherhood of St Laurence $36,693 towards refugee youth development program 

  • Hands on Learning $59,700 towards the HOL Diploma of Applied Learning and student wellbeing 

  • Justice Connect $40,131 towards the Aboriginal debt clinic 


  • Centre for Community Child Health $2.6 million in 14 grants from 2001-11 to carry out The Early Years project with Good Beginnings Australia.

  • Centre for Non-Violence Inc $1 million from 2001-13 for the ‘Solving the Jigsaw: Changing the Culture of Violence’, to work with the school community to change the culture of violence and build a culture of wellbeing.

  • Ganbina, Shepparton $1.9 million in 7 grants from 2001-18 to address Aboriginal economic employment and training issues

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  • Marie Stopes International Australia $369,454 from 2001-07 for ‘making deadly sex safe’ – supporting the condom social marketing for Australian indigenous communities


  • Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal $1.6 million from 2002-19 for Small Grants for Rural Communities program

  • Mornington Peninsula Shire Council $150,000 towards the all-abilities playground

  • Trust for Nature $1 million in grants and interest repayments to help purchase Neds Corner, now the state's biggest privately held conservation property, and return it to its natural state after 153 years of pastoral enterprise

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  • Asylum Seeker Resource Centre $1.9 million across 14 grants from 2003-2020

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  • State Library of Victoria $900,000 between 2003 and 2011, for the R E Ross Trust Playwright Script Development Awards, with prizes of $30,000 each to Victorian-based playwrights for the development of scripts that have not been produced. 


  • Philanthropy Australia $241,000 in ongoing support to assist with sector capacity and advocacy. 

  • Somebody’s Daughter Theatre Company towards organisational capacity / sustainability $300,000


  • SANE Australia production and distribution of a series of SANE Helpline research reports $75,000

  • State Library of Victoria $300,000 towards the Manuscript and Copyright collections project

  • The Centre for International Child Health (Royal Children’s Hospital and University of Melbourne) $1.933 million over 15 years for fellowship program for Pacific Island doctors and nurses working in child health, particularly in PNG, to help improve the quality and standards of child health. 


  • Birds Australia (now Bird Life Australia) Volume 4 Handbook of Birds $50,000

  • Somebody’s Daughter Theatre Company $45,000 for workshops at Fairlea Women’s prison 

  • St John’s Homes for Boys and Girls $20,000 accommodation for homeless school children 


  • Birds Australia (now Bird Life Australia) $47,500 for the Peregrine Falcon project 

  • Boort District Hospital, towards the redevelopment of the nursing home - $10,000

  • Breakaway Camps, general support - $7,640

  • Jesuit Social Services, towards a mental health outreach worker - $10,000

  • Mt Evelyn Special Development School, towards hydrotherapy pool, $15,000

  • Southern Cross Homes, Springvale South Hostel - $10,000

  • West Gippsland Hospital, Hospital appeal - $11,959


  • Trust for Nature $25,000 for the Brolga Wetland and grasslands 

  • Union Theatre Development $20,000 towards theatre redevelopment costs 


  • Emergency relief $100,800 for four organisations for the gas crisis 

  • Kildonan Uniting Care $40,000 for the families and schools program

  • Rosebud Secondary College $50,000 for construction of two basketball courts

  • Trust for Nature $150,000 for vulnerable grassy ecosystems 


  • Life Saving Victoria $25,000 for education and training facility 

  • St Vincent’s Hospital maternal and child health skin education materials translated into multiple languages $40,000

  • Trust for Nature $127,900 to purchase 150 hectares of volcanic plains red soil 


  • Emergency relief Trust starts providing twice-yearly grants for emergency relief

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  • The Salvation Army food bank appeal $115,000

  • Wesley Central Mission towards the community contact centre in the outer eastern suburbs $50,000


  • Australian Red Cross the rural recession plan $50,000

  • The establishment of the Jean Hailes Menopause Foundation $50,000

  • Victorian Conservation Trust $100,000 for the Towerhill Road National Park development linking the public park at Arthur’s Seat.


  • Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare $22,150 for adolescent services project

  • Mission for St James & St John $23,000 emergency accommodation for young children in crisis 

  • Mornington Peninsula Hospital $23,000 to extend cardiology services 


  • Frankston Arts Centre $250,000 over five years towards the Cultural Centre to be part of the new Frankston Arts Centre 

  • Mornington Peninsula Hospital $25,000 for building appeal 


  • Royal Botanic Gardens $100,000 towards purchase of land at Cranbourne 

  • Royal Botanic Gardens $50,000 for inventory of fresh water algae

  • Southern Peninsula Community Care $25,000 towards the purchase of a building to centralise community operations 


  • Caulfield Hospital Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit $120,000 to purchase a Holter Monitor to evaluate heart rate and rhythm for analysis and rehabilitation treatment 

  • Monash University – Centre for Early Human Development $19,000 towards the purchase of an Ultracentrifuge 

  • Prince Henry’s Hospital $27,000 towards the purchase of a Beckman Ultracentrifuge 

  • Zoological Board of Victoria $99,000 towards the purchase of land to form part of Healesville Sanctuary 


  • Mornington Peninsula Shire Council $100,000 towards the construction of an Interpretive Centre at The Briars historic farm Mount Martha 

  • R.E. Ross Trust Fellowship Program established bringing trade teachers and trainers from Pacific Island countries and for four years from East Timor to Victoria

  • Ross House opened The Ross Trust helps purchase and refurbish Ross House, providing a ‘home’ for smaller charitable organisations to co-locate and share administrative support

  • Victorian Conservation Trust $80,000 towards the purchase of land to form part of the Otway National Park 


  • Baker Medical Research Institute $100,000 towards the purchase of equipment for the heart risk reduction clinic 

  • Caulfield Hospital $40,000 towards the purchase of equipment for the Cardiac rehabilitation unit 

  • Mercy Hospice Care towards the extension of the hospice services $50,000


  • Child & Family Care Network towards the building of a Youth development centre at Glen Waverley $100,000

  • The Anglican Mission to the Streets & Lanes of Melbourne towards the cost of new premises $100,000

  • The Bionic Ear Institute $300,000 for the construction and development of laboratories at the Royal Eye and Ear Hospital 


  • Australian Red Cross general support $50,000

  • Southern Peninsula Rescue Squad $100,000

  • Victorian Conservation Trust $39,000 towards the purchase of Lot 8 Tereddan Drive South Kilsyth 


  • Australian Conservation Foundation $300,000 towards the information and education centre at Wilsons Promontory National Park

  • Odyssey House general support $25,000

  • Victorian Conservation Trust $75,000 towards the purchase of Fisher’s Island adjacent to Churchill Island


    Zoological Board of Victoria $100,000 to support the Sir Colin Mackenzie Fauna Park in Healesville 


  • Southern Peninsula Hospital Rosebud $50,000 building appeal 

  • Task Force $200,000 Youth Support for the purchase of a building to be used as a Centre for youth activities


  • Braille & Talking Book Library audio production unit $25,000

  • Victorian Conservation Trust $25,000 for the purchase of land adjoining the Clarkesdale Reserve to form part of the flora park now under development 


  • Epworth Medication Foundation equipment for the Cardiovascular stress monitoring, $17,755

  • Kildonan Uniting Care $75,000 purchase of property in Fitzroy/Collingwood to be used as a family group home


  • Australian Red Cross Society $50,000 general support 

  • The Richmond Fellowship of Victoria $35,000 towards the farm project at Apollo Bay 

  • The Royal Melbourne Hospital $100,000 purchase of an Analytical Fluorescent Flow Cytometer and Data Acquisition System

  • The Salvation Army $100,000 towards the construction of the Mary Anderson Emergency Lodge for women and children in crisis 

  • Victorian Conservation Trust $150,000 for the purchase of land for preservation in the Long Forest Mallee area 


  • Victorian Conservation Trust $9500 for the National Parks Service towards the purchase of Crown Allotment in the Parish of Anakie to form part of Brisbane Ranges National Park

  • Victorian Council of Social Service $10,000 towards establishing a volunteer resource centre 

  • The Ross Trust and Mornington Peninsula – Mornington & District Intellectually Handicapped Persons Welfare Association $2,000 towards building costs (1 June 1976) 

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  • North Richmond Community Health, Towards employment of a Youth Worker - $12,000

  • Riddells Creek Kindergarten Centre, Building Fund - $5,000

  • Sunshine Christian Community Services, Emergency Relief - $5,000

  • Trust for Nature, Towards purchase Hammonds Land - $20,000

  • Victorian Council of Social Service $5000 towards general support 


  • Institute of Cultural Affairs Victoria towards Community Forums $7,500

  • Victorian Council of Social Service $5000 general support 


  • Buoyancy Foundation of Victoria, Towards general support drug counselling program - $5,000

  • CERES, General support - $5,000

  • Melbourne City Mission $30,000 towards Hospice Care Unit

  • Melbourne Citymission, Hospice care Unit - $30,000


  • The Uniting Church in Australia Victoria towards Harrison House boys’ hostel $60,000

  • The Victoria Conservation Trust $7000 to complete the purchase by the Warrnambool Nature Reserves “the Nirranda land”

  • Victorian Conservation Trust $18,000 towards the purchase of Donaldson’s land, Shire of Narracan 


  • Collaboration between Children’s Protection Society and Melbourne University towards the study of the impact of state welfare administration on neglected children $15,000 each year for two years.

  • First grant Brotherhood of St Laurence $12,000 towards family centre in Fitzroy (plus a further $45,000 in 1972)

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  • Monash University $40,000 (over three years, $20k, $10k, $10k) for partnership with Papua New Guinea Institute of Technology to develop mathematics teaching programs for students from Papua New Guinea.

  • University of Melbourne $50,000 towards a Chair of Social Studies


  • Broadmeadows & Districts Vocational Rehabilitation towards workshops for people with a disability $30,000

  • Victorian Conservation Trust $16,000 for the National Parks Service to purchase Bridgewater’s land. 

  • Victorian Council of Social Service $5000 towards regional social planner 


  • The Cairnmillar Institute (Psychological and trauma counselling) towards an International Centre $14,000

  • Trust for Nature $30,000 First Ross Trust grant for land acquisition was for land to be included in the Mallacoota Inlet National Park and land to be included in the Brisbane Ranges National Park

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  • Asthma Victoria $20,000 general support 

  • Ecumenical Migration Centre $8,000 the Clearing House on Migration Issues (CHOMI). CHOMI provided broad range of research and educational resources on immigration, ethnicity, government and community policies, discrimination and race relations.