August 3, 2023

Remembering Ken Morgan

Today we’d like to acknowledge our incredible founder, Ken Morgan OAM, on the anniversary of his passing. Ken was an incredible person who used his successes to help others find their own. Ken founded Kids Under Cover in 1989 after reading the findings of the Senate National Inquiry into youth homelessness led by Professor Brian Burdekin AO. He was compelled to do something to end the youth homelessness crisis – starting by raising funds to build a home for young mothers to ensure they had safe accommodation, and of course, evolving into the incredible studio and scholarship programs that we continue to deliver today.

Thanks to Ken’s vision, leadership and passion, we’re now housing around 1000 young people each night across nearly 650 studios – and we’re dedicated to keep working in honour of Ken’s legacy to help even more young people find the space they need to thrive.

Thank you, Ken. We’re grateful for the lasting contribution you’ve made to the community. Ken’s wife, Lenka Morgan, has also played an incredibly important role in ensuring the success of Kids Under Cover’s programs. Our thoughts are with Lenka and her family as we reflect on this anniversary.

Ken’s Story

For more 30 years, Kids Under Cover has grown and adapted to changing needs, but the vision of our late founder remains at the heart of everything we do.

For decades, Ken Morgan enjoyed great admiration for his extraordinary work in the automotive industry and was a familiar face and friend to many. A much loved and popular personality, Ken’s public persona masks a very difficult past. At 16, he became a homeless teenager after his mother’s unexpected passing.

After hitting the road with little direction and no funds, Ken found himself sleeping on a park bench in Sydney’s Kings Cross. Woken by a local policeman on the early morning beat, Ken appeared dazed and confused. The officer took pity and sat down beside him. Three hours later Ken’s life had been changed forever. A complete stranger had taken time to show Ken there were people out there who really did care. Ken never forgotten the message of hope delivered on that significant day.

Ken continued to honour the commitment he made all those years ago to helping build better future prospects for young people doing it tough.

In 1989 the federal government released “Our Homeless Children – Report of the National Inquiry into Homeless Children” by Brian Burdekin. The disturbing findings moved Ken to raise the funds to build a house for homeless young mothers. This coupled with Ken’s passion to increase the support offered to young people facing homelessness instigated the birth of Kids Under Cover.

Ken was a recipient of a Humanitarian Award from the Australian Humanitarian Foundation (2000), and the Centenary Medal (2003) for his services to the community – in particular youth homelessness.

Chair of the Variety Club (Vic) for four years, Ken also became a Variety Club National Board Member.

A Life Governor of the Royal Children’s Hospital, Ken was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2010. He received this award in recognition of his philanthropic work with sick children through the Royal Children’s Hospital and Variety Club Australia; and of course his work over the years in the fight against youth homelessness.

Ken’s passing in 2022 was felt deeply within the Kids Under Cover family and across philanthropic circles, but his legacy continues to thrive through the success stories of the families and young people for whom he cared so deeply.