The Human Ecology Foundation empowers students to be active members of their community. We provoke thought, foster passion, and deliver action to enhance their neighborhood and planet. We encourage the students to be engaged and leave a positive mark on their community.


    As members of a global society, each one of us has a responsibility to care for both the planet and its inhabitants. Through our programs we increase awareness of the world around us and draw upon each individual to develop proactive responses as we take ownership of the difficult challenges in our world today.

  • Our Philosophy

    Teaching at its best lights a spark in the soul of the child.  We seek to light that spark by inspiring students to find solutions for the serious challenges of our day.

  • Great Community Initiative.

    Mike Carney, the director of the Human Ecology Foundation, meets with Theresa Emmet (founder and Director of Fouryouth Productions) and Matthew Williams, Director Conscious Connections, inc.) to learn more about their organizations.

  • Left to right: Theresa Emmet, Founder and Director of Fouryouth Productions. Matthew Williams, Director Conscious Connections. Mike Carney, Director of the Human Ecology Foundation.

  • Great to see the BEST AUNT EVER donating time to help the community. Keep up the good work, Auntie!

  • Proof that with a bit or help from the community downtown Wilmington can create great things! Such a beautiful eggplant in their community garden. Photo by Fouryouth photography student Duran Waters. Great job, Duran!

  • Great photo by Tom Davis.

  • Human Ecology Foundation Grant for Fouryouth Productions

    Fouryouth supported the Conscious Connections garden initiative by offering free photography to help him promote his organization. Helping people who help the community? That’s what we are looking for. Keep up the good work!

The Human Ecology Foundation is, at its core, an educationally based foundation. We support students, teachers, administrators, schools and parents who seek to improve the lives of others and to make our communities and the world a better place to live. Scholarships awarded to students, whose projects are selected by the board, are intended to be used for the sole purpose of education. Scholarship funds are meant to be used at educational institutions.


    Awards will be announced in the spring. Parents or legal guardians will have the fiduciary responsibility to use scholarship resources for the sole intended purpose of education. Further, for students in Catholic or private school settings, the scholarship is intended to be applied to the next year’s school tuition.


    Students in grade 12 are required to use the scholarship at the college of their choice. Students in public and charter schools are encouraged to use scholarship funds for educational purposes.


  • Fouryouth Photo and Cooking class at Bayberry Farm

    Another reason we decided to give Fouryouth the grant is that the organization is very active in the community.
    Toby Hagerott of Bayberry Farm offered a free tour to the students. The students did photography at the farm, picked vegetables, and cooked it up in cooking class.

The Human Ecology Foundation will cultivate and develop support from the community, philanthropic organizations, corporations and schools and universities. Resources will be devoted to fund scholarships for outstanding student research papers and community service projects. Student projects will be reviewed by a corporate board that will select scholarship recipients based on project relevancy, advocacy, and potential application to make a difference in the lives of people locally and globally.

How do we attain this? The Human Ecology Foundation secures donations and support from individuals, corporations, schools, universities and foundations. This consortium of support from the community is the source of revenue from which the Human Ecology Foundation will award scholarships to students whose projects show merit. Through these scholarships we stimulate and award those students who successfully leave their positive mark on their community and society as a whole.

The Human Ecology Foundation was the life’s work of John. C. “Jack” Carney, Sr. Born in Philadelphia in 1925, he attended St. Joseph’s University and married the love of his life, Ann Buckley, a graduate of Immaculata College.

Jack and Ann were married for 60 years, raising 9 children in a three bedroom home in Claymont, Delaware. “Raising nine kids was my own personal human ecology project,” said Carney. Jack spent 36 years in education as a teacher, counselor, school psychologist, and Director of Pupil Services in public schools in Delaware. In retirement, Jack continued to put into action his efforts to improve the human condition, volunteering or serving as a board member at the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, the March of Dimes, the Wilmington Hospital, Holy Rosary Church and Malvern Retreat House.  In 1986, then Governor Castle honored Jack with the State Volunteer of the Year Award.

Jack Carney also founded the Human Ecology Foundation during his retirement.  Sadly, he passed away on July 9, 2014. His family continues his dream to translate his vision into action through cultivating local support for the Human Ecology Foundation.

  • Televised Primetime piece with founder John. C. “Jack” Carney, Sr.

    From Channel 6 Action News, shot at the Brandywine High School.
    This aired in late 80’s, a testament to the amount of time the foundation has dedicated to serve the community.

    Watch this vdeo with audio

“The interactive and interdisciplinary nature of John’s work serves as a model for the kind of learning guides that will be necessary to resolve the complex problems of the 21st century and beyond. In sum, John’s approach is the next logical step to effective and engaging education reform. Bravo!”

Dr. Kenneth E. HillAcademic Dean and Professor of Education Psychology, College of the Atlantic, Maine.

“The value of this work is that real world issues are presented leading to purposeful research. The guidebook illustrates simple human problems and uses process to address these issues.”

Sister Virginia PfauPrincipal, St. Ann’s School, Wilmington, DE.

“The Human Ecology Research and Writing Program presents students with the opportunity to become compassionate, responsible citizens in the global society in which they live. Their projects were interesting, relevant and, in some cases eye-opening. Quite a few students felt inspired; others developed a sympathetic comprehension of the world’s struggles.”

Mary BeardsleyMary Beardsley, Caravel Academy, Bear, DE.

Partnerships with the Human Ecology Foundation enable participating students as well as others visiting our website to find information about your organization and to learn more about your mission. The Human Ecology Foundation always looks for new ways to build new partnerships and alliances. If you would like to explore how we can collaborate, click on the apply button and fill out our application form.

Michael Carney

Director of the Human Ecology Foundation.

Michael is the Director of the Human Ecology Foundation, and the son of its founder. His experience in business (30 years) and coaching (18) has led him to his current position as Director of Major Gifts for Saint Mark’s High School, a Catholic college preparatory school in Delaware. In partnership with his family and board members, he is committed to building the HEF program and carrying its legacy forward.

Margaret Carney McCaffery

Margaret is the eldest daughter of Jack and Ann Carney. She lives in Northern California, where she has taught learning-challenged students in grades 4-8 for 25 years. Outreach to educators to develop awareness and participation in the HEF service learning project is her focus.

Liz Carney O’Neill

Another of the five Carney daughters, Liz has worked for more than 20 years to improve women‘s and children’s health in Delaware, at the March of Dimes and Christiana Care Health System. She currently serves as the state director for Delaware CAN (Contraceptive Access Now) via the non-profit organization, Upstream USA, working to reduce Delaware’s high unintended pregnancy rate. Liz concentrates her efforts on matching HEF students with health-related organizations.

Mary C. Beardsley

Mary teaches English at Caravel Academy, a private college-preparatory school in Delaware. She has been with the Foundation since its inception, serving as an advisor to founder Jack Carney. Mary has developed and written curriculum and rubrics for HEF, and monitors the coursework of student participants.

Clare Garrison

Clare works for the Delaware State Office of Volunteerism, where she connects 850 non-profit organizations with thousands of volunteers each year. She also manages the volunteer credit program for high school students and the President’s Volunteer Service Awards. Clare’s focus on the board is to identify and expand relationships with partners who could benefit from HEF service learning model.

Thomas Lemon

Tom enjoyed a varied career at Saint Mark’s High School (Wilmington, DE) as an educator, coach, admissions officer, and in fund development. He now serves as Director of Development for the Stanton and George (Wilmington) Campuses of Delaware Technical Community College. A long-time friend of the Carney family, Tom enthusiastically supports the mission and vision of HEF and its founder.

Margaret V. Sharp, Ed. D.

Margie is an educator with a long resume, having served public and private schools in Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania as both a teacher and administrator. She is currently Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction in a Pennsylvania public school district. Margie’s focus on the board is the development of the HEF course and scholarship expectations.

Susan Barto McPheeters

Susan brings marketing, writing, and public relations experience to HEF, having worked for local government, ad agencies, non-profits, and in education. She currently works at the Mary Campbell Center in Wilmington, where communicating to a variety of audiences is among her duties. Her focus on the board is to collaboratively develop and refine the HEF message.

Erica Thomas, Ph.D.

Erica is the Director of Curriculum and Instruction at the Delaware Academy for Public Safety and Security. As an educator, she has focused on education policy and instruction, consulting with the Delaware State Board of Education and serving on numerous committees for the Delaware Department of Education. She was also as a lead science teacher in Capital School District. Erica’s efforts within HEF focus on education policy and curriculum development.

Twitter: humanecologyedu

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