Foundation 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.
- 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
In keeping with our history of grant making, the Ross Trust will fund other areas of need. This includes responding to Victorians in crisis and building a strong and robust for-purpose sector.
The Ross Trust areas of interest are:
- human rights
- for-purpose sector leadership
- emergency relief
- natural disasters.
You can find out more by visiting our Responsive Grants page.
- Geoff Nicholson, Chair and Trustee
- Prue Digby, Trustee
- Jeremy Kirkwood, Trustee
- Jenny Stephens, Trustee
- Jon Webster AM, Trustee
- Sarah Hardy, CEO
- 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.
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.
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
- 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)
- 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
- Kilfinan Australia $30,000
Sustainability and growth to assist build the leadership capacity within the not-for-profit sector
- ACOSS $15,000
Raise the Rate Campaign
- Refugee Legal $50,000
Assisting the temporary protection visa process for asylum seekers
Photo: teacher and students from Crib Point Primary School