Investing in the future of the Peninsula



The Mornington Peninsula is well-known for its growing prosperity, but its cycle of material advantage goes both ways.

While half the area’s residents build from one material success to another, a hidden population works daily against a complex intersection of systemic disadvantages.
One in four households lives below the poverty line, including one in seven children. Those from affluent homes start school ready to learn and finish with a world of opportunities, but their peers in low income postcodes start two or three years behind them, and often drop out before they finish.

At MPF we try to see beyond the individual symptoms of disadvantage; to learn about its causes and complexities and address them as a whole.

We believe that cycles of wealth and disadvantage are based on complex but highly consistent systems, and when we understand these systems we can strategically influence them to create better outcomes overall. This is the key to permanently  reducing the symptoms including homelessness, family violence and low mental health.

We believe the key to overturning cycles of disadvantage is inclusion, so a cornerstone of our work is removing the obstacles to full participation in society.

All of our funded programs empower people on the Peninsula to engage with the community, and we connect these pathways to create networks of mutual and self sustaining positive outcomes.

Our oral language and literacy programs are key examples. Four years ago, our research determined that access to reading and writing is a core predictor of participation and positive outcomes, but we saw that many children on the Peninsula were not securing the fundamentals upon which strong literacy is built. With emerging educational leaders in pre, primary and secondary education, we are supporting school wide literacy interventions based on the science of learning, combined with community services which support the life circumstances of families. This collaborative network aims to ensure no one in the next generation misses out on a crucial foundation for engagement in society.

Our wonderful donors support the change makers we partner with to create new ways forward.

Philanthropy is the venture capital of social change. MPF is the catalyst; community is the engine, and virtuous cycles of opportunity are the result.

We believe that great social justice work is as crucial as any other field, and investments in social change should aim to yield the maximum social benefit. We aim to create social change by identifying the root causes of disadvantage, implementing targeted interventions, analysing their effectiveness with data, and committing to constant improvement through innovation.

When implemented effectively, this process transforms cycles of disadvantage into upward spirals of empowerment. Increases in opportunity translate to economic value through payment of taxes; reduced costs of justice, health and family services; and increased flow of money in local businesses. Rather than simply accruing back to the donor, an investment in MPF contributes to an upward spiral of health, wealth and quality of life for the whole community, with immeasurable long term results.


MPF is a Public Benevolent Institution with Deductible Gift Recipient Item 1 tax status. All donations are tax deductible. In 2017 the George Hicks Foundation made a ten year commitment to fund the operational costs of the MPF. Projects are funded with donations from our wide range of donors.