As many Victorians move into the second phase 3 lockdown to stem the rate of coronavirus infections, the situation has highlighted the circumstances of our community’s most vulnerable.
Nothing has focused community concern quite as sharply as the compulsory lockdown of the public housing blocks in Flemington and North Melbourne.
It reminds us how crucial it is for philanthropy to advocate and help give a voice to the most marginalised people in our society. In many ways the worst moment of the pandemic in our city, has had one silver lining – we are hearing the voices of the residents themselves. And considered, articulate, lived-experience voices they are!
They tell us they need the things many of us take for granted – food, medicine, and other essentials (like access to the internet) that only last to the next pay day.
As in all emergencies, failings in the system come to light.
One failing which has been on the radar for some time, but is becoming more and more evident, is the harshness of expecting people without paid work to survive on (the previously named) Newstart payments of $40 a day. The recent JobSeeker payment – time limited as it is – has shown what might be possible. We are backing the Raise the Rate campaign as part of our advocacy work, as are many other philanthropic organisations and we hope others will join us. Have a read about the campaign and the National Day of Action tomorrow.
As coronavirus and bushfire responses have occupied the Trustees’ considerations and a significant component of our granting budget this year, we’ve decided to put a hold on our Educational Equity Smart Grants until the end of the year. Despite increasing our annual grant budget this financial year, we previously committed to many multi-year grants impacting on funds available for new grants for the financial year 2020-21. If you want to understand more about this decision, please read the story on our website. Our Biodiversity Conservation Smart Grant applications, remain open.
As we’ve come to the end of the first year of our new strategy, we’ve taken the exciting step – working with Clear Horizons – to implement a Measurement, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) strategy to help the Trust, our partners and the broader philanthropic sector support learning and future decision-making. If you are a grantee, take time to have a ready about the MEL.
In line with our governance approach of sharing the chair responsibilities between Trustees, Jeremy Kirkwood has taken the helm of the Trust this month. My team and I are very much looking forward to working with Jeremy in his first stint ‘in the chair’. To get an idea of Jeremy’s thoughts on the role, you can read our story below.
I would also like to take the opportunity to thank Geoff Nicholson for his stewardship and mentoring over the past year as Chair of the Ross Trust. It has been a fruitful and positive collaboration, in the most unusual of times, which I look forward to continuing with he, Jeremy and all our Trustees.
CEO, the Ross Trust
Raise the Rate has our support
We have increased our support for the Raise the Rate campaign with a commitment of $100,000 for the next phase of advocacy.
Increasing early learning participation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
In the lead up to National Reconciliation Week, the Trustees awarded $150,000 over three years to SNAICC, to advocate for increased early learning participation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
Helmeted Honeyeater habitat results draw new funding
Based on outstanding results from a previous habitat restoration project, the Ross Trust has backed the Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater to expand their work with a challenge and change grant of $164,000.
Corporate advisor and passionate education advocate, Jeremy Kirkwood, is the new Chair of the Ross Trust and hopes to continue the Trust’s increased commitment to advocacy and other strategic approaches to philanthropy.