I don’t need to tell you these are extraordinary times. I wanted to update you on the Ross Trust’s response to COVID-19 and a few changes we are making. The challenge for all of us as we face this pandemic and the predicted financial downturn, is to keep things as calm and positive as we can. We remain committed to continuing our work and supporting you, while keeping everyone safe at the same time.
On behalf of my team and the Trustees, firstly we just want to wish everyone good health and encourage you as much as possible to be following the directions coming from the Chief Medical Officer and the government. In Victoria, one of the best sources of information is the DHHS coronavirus website.
Here at the Trust, we have been planning and making changes to our way of working as we’ve seen events unfold.
We are here – virtually and in spirit
Since early last week we have been putting in place our pandemic plan measures to protect our people. For a few days now the team at the Ross Trust has been practicing our best form of social distancing and mainly working from home.
At this stage, the physical office will stay closed at least until after Easter.
We are no longer having face-to-face meetings, we are not travelling, and we are not holding site visits. We are however, available to you in other ways.
We will be using video and phone conferencing when required and are available via email or phone. Phone calls and emails can be answered during our usual business hours of 8 am to 4 pm Monday to Thursday. If no one is available to take your call, we will always return your message as soon as possible.
Our website and IT people are all supporting us remotely too. Like every other business right now, there are bound to be some hitches or delays but we will always get back to you as soon as we can.
We are fortunate to be able to change our work arrangements, but we know for many of you with client contact as part of your role, this will be extremely difficult.
For teachers and schools, we know you are supporting students as best you can and changes will start to affect you more directly in the weeks to come. The philanthropic community owes you a huge debt of thanks for keeping our most vulnerable and isolated people in the Victorian community safe and connected at this time.
In terms of our current grants program, we want to be as flexible as possible.
Please make contact for a discussion with us:
if you would like to request an extension to your grant deadline
if you don’t feel you can meet current reporting timelines, or
if you may not be able to deliver the program as planned at this stage because of the COVID-19 impacts.
An early conversation will help us all manage this well.
Please be assured, our granting will continue, however in the coming weeks and months there may be changes as we respond to communities in need. Visit our website for more details.
We will honour all our granting commitments and we will continue to identify how we might be able to support Victorian communities and organisations as they start the recovery and rebuild process, following on from the Summer’s bushfires and after the impacts of the pandemic are fully realised.
As I said in my last message about bushfires, to a large extent the role of philanthropy is to sit with community need for the long term and seek to support community-led solutions for our most vulnerable Victorians.
Right now, we can only move forward with the information we have today.
Please stay safe, be kind and look after each other.