Our Work

The Issue

A Regional Statistical Profile by the National Institute of Economic and Industry Research provided a baseline for MPF in 2017.

This report, drawing on ABS statistics, revealed one in four households lives below the poverty line.

Areas of extreme wealth and extreme poverty lie jarringly within just a few kilometres of each other.

Data averaged over these areas masks the degree of need.

Data from local sources derived through MPF programs directs our work in response to these issues.

Disadvantage on the Mornington Peninsula is largely intergenerational and it will take an innovative, transformational approach to disrupt this cycle.

The Cycle

The cycle of intergenerational disadvantage is often presented by a person moving through the different stages of life and failing to meet developmental benchmarks before the next generation starts the cycle again. This may be what happens, but it doesn’t tell us why, or how to change it. And changing things for one person or a small group may be good for that person or group, but will require repeated actions and resources to reach more people. Changing how the system works, however, can mean the impact is sustainable.

Our diagrams represent the systemic failures that create the cycle of intergenerational disadvantage as they have been revealed to us through our work with people who are part of it.

They look at the core beliefs and rules that society is built upon, the fundamentals of service delivery and some of the key limitations in our schools and kinders.

We then show how these systemic failures are being challenged through innovation in the programs the communities themselves have created. We’ve built a process in collaboration with community partners and have numerous projects on the go. We separate them into three broad areas – Education, Inclusion and Empowerment, but they are very much inter-connected, building across each other and the community to form cohesive pathways that spiral whole communities, rather than some people, out of disadvantage.

Focus Areas

The cycle of disadvantage is also often presented as a matter of postcode. And this again is true, but it is not acceptable or inevitable. This is not about luck, but systems, systems that have failed and are failing to be responsive and inclusive. 

The debilitating and insidious thread that runs through the cycle is trauma, trauma from living in poverty, economic hardship, isolation, exclusion, violence, humiliation and shame. Trauma is passed on physiologically from one generation to another and it’s continuity inhibits change. Understanding trauma, incorporating a trauma informed approach is essential in all our work in relation to cyclical disadvantage. 


MPF is a Public Benevolent Institution with Deductible Gift Recipient Item 1 tax status. All donations are tax deductible. As all operational costs are covered by the George Hicks Foundation, 100% of donations are distributed as community grants.