Ian Hicks AM is Chairman of his family foundation, the George Hicks Foundation, and the inspiration behind and funder of the Mornington Peninsula Foundation.

The GHF was formed in 1965 by Ian’s father, George, to give back to the community that had enabled him to make good in business. After leaving school at 14 with a hunger to see the world and a desire not to follow his father into debt collection, George worked hard to build Applied Chemicals, which became Australia’s largest and most successful supplier of chemical cleaners.

With vision and entrepreneurship in spades, Ian took Applied Chemicals to international heights with hundreds of employees in numerous countries, selling it in the 90s and moving into venture capital, hospitality and philanthropy.

Applying innovation to philanthropy as he had in business and as Chair of GHF, Ian led the Foundation through a series of changes, including to a place based focus in 2014. As a long time resident of the Mornington Peninsula and in response to the mostly hidden, but deeply entrenched levels of disadvantage, GHF concentrated on that region and those issues for three years.

Increasing collaboration with more and more donors, as well as extensive consultation with community partners, led in 2017 to the formation of the MPF as a more flexible legal entity able to build on the progressive work GHF had forged. Fellow founding Directors, Andrew Fairley AM and Dr Genevieve Timmons, established the philosophical and ethical framework which has served it well as it pushes the boundaries of traditional philanthropy.

Since formation, GHF has fully funded the running costs of the MPF which has inspired donors of all sizes and aspirations to contribute to the pool of funds that drives the strategic grants process.

Our Board

Ian Hicks, AM B Econ

Ian is Executive Chair of Applied International Pty Ltd (a private investment group based in Melbourne), Chair of the George Hicks Foundation and is a member of the Order Of Australia in recognition of his community and philanthropic work. Ian has a strong interest in the arts, is a major supporter of the Australian Ballet and an enthusiastic collector of Australian art and sculpture. He has a vineyard, avocado farm and sculpture park on the Mornington Peninsula in Shoreham.

Andrew Fairley, AM, LLB (Melb) Hon Doc (Deakin) FAICD
Deputy Chair

Andrew is a Commercial and Equity Lawyer at Hall & Wilcox in Melbourne. He is Chair of Togethr Trustees Pty Ltd, which company is trustee of Catholic Super and Equipsuper.  It has combined funds under management of $27B.  He is an Industry Director of the Australia Financial Complaints Authority and a Director of Qualitas Securities Pty Ltd. He has a deep involvement in the philanthropic sector, as Chair of the Sir Andrew Fairley Foundation and Chair of the Foundation for Alcohol Research & Education.  He is a former Chair of Parks Victoria, and former Deputy Chair of Tourism Australia.

Assoc/Prof Janet Stanley PhD, MSW, B.Com, Dip SW

Janet is Principal Research Fellow, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, Melbourne School of Design, University of Melbourne, and a Director of Stanley and Co., consultants in sustainable policy. Janet focuses on the interface between social, environmental and economic issues, specialising in transport, social exclusion, evaluation, climate change and wildfire. Janet has 150 publications, including 5 books. Janet is a long term resident on the Mornington Peninsula.

Christina McGuffie

Christina brings to the MPF extensive knowledge of the communities on the Peninsula and experience in media and communications, local and federal politics. Originally a journalist and for many years Adviser to the Member for Flinders and Federal Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt, Christina is now speech writer at the Mornington Peninsula Shire and a Commissioner on the National Mental Health Commission.

Andrew Wheeler

Andrew is Chair of Sentinel Foundation, and has had a long and successful career in the financial services industry. As the creator of both Lonsdale Ltd and Lonsec Ltd, he provides research integrated client software, and share broking services to Accountants and Financial Planners. Andrew is active as a philanthropic donor and close supporter of a number of not for profit organisations. He is a resident of Mt Martha. 

Elina Wilson M.Sc. Economics and Business Administration

Elina is a Co-Founder and Director of SALT Catalyst – a private company established in 2018 to manage the investments and philanthropic activities of her family. SALT Catalyst operates with the ethos of using intellectual, social and financial capital to catalyse a more just, kind and compassionate world.
Prior to establishing SALT Catalyst, Elina had a long career in brand and corporate marketing spanning across her native Finland, several European countries and Australia.
Elina is passionate about education, especially early childhood and language development. Other areas of interest for Elina are socio-economic, gender and indigenous equality, mental health, empathy and environmental sustainability.
Elina currently serves on the Zoos Victoria Foundation Advisory Board, Wolf Foundation board and several advisory boards of privately held companies.

Sarah Jordan

Sarah has an extensive sales and digital marketing career spanning over 20 years in the corporate and education sectors. Having worked with News Limited, Australian Consolidated Press and Murdoch Magazines, Sarah led sales for some of Australia’s leading publishing brands including donna hay, madison magazine, Harpers BAZAAR and INSIDEout.
In the last 8 years Sarah has advised to the Peninsula’s leading educational institutions including Chisholm TAFE, Chisholm Online and Monash University, Peninsula campus where she was instrumental in developing campus led strategy to raise awareness of the education opportunities within the area by engaging the local community. Sarah is particularly passionate about the importance of education for all.

Paul Thomas Hicks


Brett Watson
Brett is a Peninsula local, currently residing in Mount Martha and brings to the MPF strong business knowledge and experience in leadership, complex problem solving and technology innovation. With a history starting as a research scientist with the Alfred Hospital, Brett has had roles in product, strategy, digital and technology across financial services and consulting, leading to his current position as a Partner at KPMG where he is currently the Banking lead for Advisory.

Our Staff and Associates

Stephanie Exton
Executive Director

Stephanie is founding Executive Director of Mornington Peninsula Foundation, having headed the placed based philanthropic work of the George Hicks Foundation on the Peninsula from 2014 – 2017, which led to its formation. Stephanie brings a vast array of experience to her role as intermediary and facilitator in this innovative field of philanthropy.

Previously, as Executive Director of the Sir Andrew and Lady Fairley Foundation Stephanie led their place based work in Shepparton. Prior to this she was Program Manager with the human rights focused, Melbourne based Reichstein Foundation.

Through these roles and as a consultant in the Philanthropy sector Stephanie has worked directly with grass roots organisations in regional and metropolitan Australia and managed teams to inspire deeper understanding of social issues and service systems, to better understand the levers and strategies for change. She has worked with numerous donors and honed skills in facilitation of community, business and government partnerships. Stephanie has developed multiple co-designed initiatives, built bespoke data systems and used the latest in data analytics to forge new pathways in response to challenging issues.

In her earlier career in music and arts administration Stephanie held positions in four of the six Australian symphony orchestras in orchestral, touring, concert, program and artist management. Never losing the love of music, Stephanie is still an active and keen cellist.

Bethany Travers
Project Assistant

Bethany Travers joined MPF as Project Assistant in October 2020. She completed her Bachelor of Arts (International Studies) and Masters of Public Policy at Monash University, which included internships with data analytics company WhyHive and as campaign assistant in the 2019 Federal election campaign. Bethany has extensive experience in customer service and is interested in developing projects and influencing policy through community consultation and data analysis.

Gitz Naidu
Chief Financial Officer

Gitz is Chief Financial Officer of MPF and has been working for the past 9 years within Ian Hicks Family Office – Applied International.  A passionate accountant and Chief Financial Officer with 20 years experience in Finance and Accounting. She started her carrier in public accounting and prior to this, she served as a Chief Financial Officer in Retail Industry and in IT Tech firm.  She has a strong background in Finance and Tax with her Masters degree in Taxation and is a fellow of CPA Australia and Tax Institute of Australia and a graduate member of AICD.

Dr Genevieve Timmons
Honorary Strategic Advisor

Dr Genevieve Timmons was a founding director of MPF and retired in October 2019.  One of Australia’s most respected philanthropy executives, Genevieve was awarded an honorary doctorate in recognition of her leadership in the sector by Swinburne University, and is an Adjunct Professor with the Centre for Social Impact at Swinburne. Her directorships include Philanthropy Australia Council, Australian Community Philanthropy, the Fellowship for Indigenous Leadership, Studio Schools Australia and TOM : Melbourne.

Contact Us

We are constantly active on the Peninsula and meet community agencies and donor partners in situ on a regular basis. Please contact us with any enquiries or if you would like to contribute in any way.

97 Spring St. Melbourne, 3000

Call Us: (03) 03 9656 5523

NEIR Report

Board Charter


MPF Privacy Policy

Annual Report 2019/20

Annual Report 2018/19

Annual Report 2017/18