Fact sheet

Who we are

The Ross Trust is a perpetual charitable trust with a vision to create positive social and environmental change so Victorians can thrive. As a compassionate and responsive philanthropic leader, we want to enable young people in Victoria by giving them equitable access to education, so they can complete their secondary schooling regardless of their circumstances. We work with partners to ensure Victoria’s biodiversity is conserved, protected and valued by all as part of a healthy and resilient environment.

For further information, download a copy of our five-year strategy

Funding priorities

  • Educational Equity – enabling young people in Victoria equitable access to educational opportunities so they complete secondary schooling
  • Biodiversity Conservation – conserving and protecting Victoria’s biodiversity so it is valued by all as part of a healthy and resilient environment


  • Geoff Nicholson, Chair and Trustee
  • Prue Digby, Trustee
  • Jeremy Kirkwood, Trustee
  • Jenny Stephens, Trustee
  • Jon Webster AM, Trustee
  • Sarah Hardy, CEO

Trust facts

  • Current number of trust employees: six
  • Total grant payments since inception (up to FY 2018-19): $117 million
  • Total 2018-19 Direct Grantee Support: $4.1 million
  • Total 2017-18 Direct Grantee Support: $4.28 million
  • Total 2016-17 Direct Grantee Support: $4.2 million

For more information see our annual reports.

The man behind the Trust

The Ross Trust was established in Victoria in 1970 by the will of Roy Everard Ross, who was born in regional Victoria in 1899 and was always a keen bushman. Ross was an astute investor and entrepreneur, who came from the land and was at various times a surveyor, local government engineer, naval officer and quarry owner. He studied and lived his later life in Melbourne. Much of his fortune was amassed on the back of investments in mining and the media. The philanthropic model he developed – with all net profits from his quarry to go to charitable purposes to benefit vulnerable Victorians – was and is unique to this day.

Geographic focus

The Ross Trust grants in Victoria, Australia, as per the wishes of the late Roy Everard Ross.

The original corpus of the Ross Trust comprised the whole of the Estate of Mr Roy Everard Ross, who left in his will a portfolio of assets including shares, real property and a quarry, today operating as Hillview Quarries. The quarry is located on the Mornington Peninsula and as such the Trust considers its support for this region as one of its higher priorities under the new strategy.

Grant types

Type of grants available:

  • Smart Grants: up to $40,000 per year for up to three years (online application)
  • Advocacy Grants: up to $50,000 per year for up to three years (by invitation only)
  • Challenge and Change Grants: $40,000 to $100,000 per year for up to three years (by invitation only)

Illustrative grant commitments

Educational equity

  • Banksia Gardens Community Services $40,000
    Project REAL / Northern Centre for Excellence in Trauma Informed Education (NCETIE)
  • Macpherson Smith Rural Foundation Limited $120,000 (over three years)
    Building Leadership Capacity and Mental Health Awareness in Young Rural Victorians
  • Mornington Peninsula Foundation $120,000 (over three years)
    NO LIMITS to learning for children on the Mornington Peninsula
  • Australian Schools Plus $329,200 (over three years)
    Fair Education Victoria trial (Gippsland)

Biodiversity conservation

  • Environmental Justice Australia $100,000 (over two years)
    River laws program
  • Trust for Nature $150,000 (over three years)
    Conservation finance and partnerships
  • Odonata $200,000 (over two years)
    Eastern Bettong Safe Haven on the Loddon River

Photo: teacher and students from Crib Point Primary School