Our Work

Mornington Peninsula Foundation’s work is focused in two main areas – the Southern Peninsula and Western Port Bay.

We support innovative, community led initiatives in education, family support and housing.

Our community partners have identified education as the greatest opportunity for change.

Local data show low rates of literacy correlate with low educational attainment and high unemployment.

How children are taught is seen as critical to the change. Without effective literacy instruction, children are left behind socially, emotionally, and financially.

In partnership with local communities, MPF is supporting pre, primary and secondary schools to implement evidence based practices that are making powerful changes to their teaching, and to learning outcomes.

This work is combined with local community services that work in collaboration with our education partners.


Western Port Learning Guarantee (WPLG) &
Southern Peninsula Learning Guarantee (SPLG)

The WPLG is an initiative created in 2018 by visionary and dedicated educational leaders in the Western Port region starting, with two primary schools and one secondary college.
It grew from their belief that all children and young people should have access to high quality education and that in order to provide this, the system needs to change. 

In 2022 a similar coalition began forming on the Southern Peninsula, with Western Port as a guide.

MPF is proud to facilitate this work that links together a series of education initiatives – No Limits, Learning Enhancement, Music and Elevate, with local community service partners in these community wide, community driven, place based initiatives.

No Limits – early years speech and oral language

No Limits began with a pilot at Crib Point Primary in response to low oral language skills in children starting school.
MPF funded speech therapy intervention as the first step, then incorporated training teaching and assistant staff in evidence based oral language and literacy instruction.
By 2022 seven kinders and seven primary schools were taking part in No Limits, with the goal that by Year 3 all children are reading to learn, not learning to read.
The evidence based methodologies used by speech therapists in the instruction of oral language and which align with the Science of Learning have influenced our school leaders and teachers to transition to this approach in their school wide approach to teaching literacy.
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and University of Melbourne are evaluating the work.

To date, over 1000 children in preschool and foundation classes have benefited from this work, with ,changes in teaching practices leading to benefits for children in higher year levels. Significant improvements in NAPLAN scores between 2019 and 2021 have been achieved by a number of primary schools.


The Learning Enhancement Program – upper primary literacy and transition to secondary

The Learning Enhancement Program (LEP) changes teaching practices and engagement with community services to support all children so they are on track academically, socially and emotionally when transitioning from primary to secondary school.

The program involves:

  • assessment and targeted intervention in literacy using systematic synthetic phonics;
  • a consistent whole school response to intervention and
  • a coordinated response to child trauma and family stress in partnership with local family services.

Two additional staff members make LEP possible, the Learning Coordinator and the Wellbeing Coordinator. Both are based at the Secondary School and outreach two days per week to the two participating primary schools. In 2023 this will expand to two more primary schools.

To date over 150 children have benefited from this work. Growth rates have improved significantly and changes in teaching practices through school wide training in Sounds Write have consolidated the improvements in literacy levels as children transition to secondary school.


Elevate – re-engagement in learning in secondary students

Elevate addresses high rates of early disengagement from learning at Western Port Secondary College, incorporating systematic synthetic phonics to bridge gaps in literacy, trauma informed teaching practice and a commitment to school wide inclusion.

Students work at the Elevate House, which is separate to mainstream classes, but on the school campus. They’re supported by dedicated staff to work through individual learning programs with the aim of transitioning back into mainstream.

MPF is grateful to the Hugh D. T. Williamson Foundation for magnificent support of this program in 2020 – 2022 and for new donors enabling not just the continuation, but the growth in 2023.

In 2022 this work extended beyond the school to the Outreach Program which includes 60 young people who are enrolled but never attend school. The program this year supported 90 young people towards better outcomes in their education.



Research shows numerous benefits of music education for children and young people including supporting cognitive development, motor skill development, fostering creativity and enhancing confidence.

The MPF Music program integrates with the Western Port Learning Guarantee by networking four of the feeder primary schools with the Secondary College.

Music teacher Adrian Allen is based at the Secondary College, and outreaches one days a week to each of the four primary schools. Each week over 500 children participate in the music classes.

The program teaches the children the language of music. It brings schools together in combined choirs and productions and supports students in their transition from primary to secondary.

We are sincerely grateful to Life Fitness Australia for enabling the establishment of this program and its continuation in 2022.

MPF Scholarships

Since 2017 MPF has partnered with St Vincent de Paul in Rye to build the MPF Scholarships program.

Annual scholarships of $500 are awarded to students transitioning from year 6 to year 7 and for students in years 10,11, and 12.

Over 250 scholarships have been awarded to date funded generously by a number of donors, with our founding donors, the Grace and Emilio Foundation and the Sentinel Foundation remaining part of the program continuously. Sincere thanks to these two foundations and all our donors who make this possible.


In Tune With U

This program has proven music is a wonderful way to connect with young people who struggle to be engaged with learning and life. Classes are held at The Music Industry in Rosebud. The young people participating receive expert instruction in music as well as a sense of community with the music teachers and other students. There is a wait list for this program it has proven to be so popular. We have seen that engagement in this program influences a young person’s outlook on their whole life, it has a flow on effect to being interested and connected to other parts of their lives, including attending school.


Western Port Housing and Homelessness

This service in Hastings is provided through the Western Port Community Support Centre. The Centre provides emergency relief as well as in-house services including housing and family support.

MPF involvement started with a pilot to see what small amounts of specifically targeted funds could do to prevent people at risk of homelessness from becoming so. Impressive data collection and outcomes led to the growth of the service.

The program now encompasses prevention, crisis intervention, and case management and is the only housing program on this side of the Peninsula. Over 500 people and their family members have been supported through this work.

SAFE Peninsula (Secure Accommodation For Everyone)

This service is provided by New Pen Community Care and is focused on prevention. When people are at risk of becoming homeless but have capacity to participate in the private rental market, they are supported through an early intervention mediation service that addresses issues before they escalate. To date 175 individuals and families have been supported with 89% retaining stable, secure housing. Many of these people would otherwise have descended into the crisis service system, where demand already well outstrips supply and where the potential to remain in crisis rather than regaining independence increases in line with the time in crisis

This work now includes employment support.

SPLaSH (Southern Peninsula Laundry and Shower) and Homeless Connections

This program is run by the Southern Peninsula Community Support Centre. SPlaSH provides bi-weekly connection on the Rosebud foreshore for people who are rough sleeping, in rooming houses, in cars or tents. With a meal and opportunity to shower and wash clothes, the program offers personal connection for people who are often intensely isolated.

Homeless Connections

This program extends the connections made at SPLaSH through intensive case management, providing a wide range of support as required by each client, integrated with other services. The collaboration driven by the local workers is a key element of the success of this work, as is the client led approach. As a small, nimble agency, staff are able to respond to specific needs and navigate the system to achieve maximum outcomes.

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.