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.

Funding priorities

All grants are by invitation only. If you wish to express initial interest, please contact us.

The Ross Trust owns Hillview Quarries, which generates income that is distributed to the Trust each year and distributed by the Trust as charitable grants.

The Ross Trust places high value on the relationship and mutual trust it builds with its grantees and remains committed to those relationships.

The Trust urges all applicants to read the Ross Trust Ethics Charter and undertake their own due diligence and ensure their ethical approach aligns with the Ross Trust before applying for a grant.


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

Key numbers

  • Current number of trust employees: five
  • Total grant payments since inception (up to FY 2022-23): $149 million
  • Total 2022-23 Direct Grantee Support $4.3 million
  • Total 2021-22 Direct Grantee Support $3.5 million
  • Total 2020-21 Direct Grantee Support  $4.0 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 

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 developed by the inaugural Trustees – with all net profits from the quarry to go to charitable purposes to benefit vulnerable Victorians – was and is unique to this day.

Hillview Quarries

In 1959, Mr Ross founded Bayview Quarries and became Chairman of Directors. After its takeover by Boral Ltd in 1968, Roy Ross formed Hillview Quarries Pty Ltd to operate an existing quarry at Dromana. Hillview Quarries continues to be owned and operated by the Trust and generates income for distribution by the Trust as charitable grants.

The Ross Trust is the only trust in Australia which derives its income from the profits of a quarry.

Mr Ross knew the financial and infrastructure benefits of developing a quarry in Victoria – both to himself and others. He reconciled his love of plants and trees and passion for conservation with his quarry business. This is the same balance the Trust strives to achieve today and you will see this reflected in its priorities.

Hillview Quarries Pty Ltd is operated by the Ross Trust for the primary purpose of fulfilling its responsibilities under the will to generate income in perpetuity to be distributed for charitable purposes. 

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.

The Ross Trust is mindful of and acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which it operates and pays its respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.

Hillview Quarries operates on the lands of the Bunurong people, and the Trust acknowledges them as the Traditional Owners. The Ross Trust highly values the partnerships it has with First Nations Peoples on the Mornington Peninsula and across Victoria.

These communities include the many organisations across Victoria that approach the Trust for funding. The Trust values highly the relationships it builds with its grantees – it is through these relationships that it is able to make a measurable and positive difference to our community for the long term.

Grant types

Impact Investments

From time to time, the Ross Trust has engaged in impact investing aligned with our current strategy and funding priorities. 

Impact Investing Australia describes impact investments as ‘investments made into organisations, projects or funds with the intention of generating measurable social and environmental outcomes, alongside a financial return.’

The Ross Trust is currently invested in three impact investment initiatives which focus on affordable housing, environmental conservation, and educational engagement. If you would like to know more, please contact our CEO by email: 

Illustrative grant commitments

Educational equity

  • Minus 18 - $120,000 (over three years)
    Building LGBTQIA+ inclusion in Regional & Rural Victorian Schools by delivering workshops in regional and rural schools to address discrimination and bullying. Read more
  • Ganbina, $150,000 (over three years)
    JOBS4U2 provides a range of activities for Indigenous youth in Shepparton, focused on education, training and personal development skills which are all essential building blocks for sustainable employment outcomes.
  • TaskForce Community Agency Inc, $160,000 (over three years)
     Living Free project provides an assertive, holistic response to girls aged 10-17 in the Mornington Peninsula, vulnerable to early school disengagement and who present with additional risk factors. 

Biodiversity conservation

  • Hobsons Bay Wetlands Centre Incorporated (HBWC) $120,000 (over three years) 
     Empowering the community to care for Port Phillip Bay’s significant coastal wetlands
  • Biodiversity Council - Uni Melb $400,000 (over four years) 
    The Biodiversity Council: Policy and Practice Change
  • The Nature Conservancy Australia Trust $150,000 (over three years)
    Victorian Ocean Resilience and Recovery Program: Developing multi-species restoration technologies

Impact investments

  • Wildlife Wonders – in 2018 a $500,000 impact investment loan to the Conservation Ecology Centre in Victoria’s Otways, to enable the purchase of the 20-hectare property running from the road to the sea, five minutes west of Apollo Bay. Read more
  • Living Learning – in 2020 a $500,000 commitment to Melbourne City Mission’s Living Learning Program (LLP). The LLP supports 15-25 years old young people who have disengaged from school with mental health challenges, to return to flexible learning, complete Year 12, and identity a positive path forward. Read more.
  • Photo: teacher and students from Crib Point Primary School