Serving The Public


The NASW Foundation works in partnership with NASW to assist the public – including community leaders, policymakers, employers, and other organizations – to understand social work and its value. We also strive to improve the health and well being of individuals and families and support healthy communities by strengthening our social workers. Highlights of our efforts to assist the public are outlined below.

National Social Work Public Education Campaign

The National Social Work Public Education (PE) Campaign builds awareness of the social work profession and promotes public access to social work services. It has conducted surveys, placed advertisements and public service announcements, and developed print, broadcast and digital tools to educate the public about the value of the social work profession. A sampling of tools and portals includes:

  • Social Workers Help Starts Here is a free social work resource for consumers searching for information and guidance on issues affecting themselves and their families that was created as part of the Public Education Campaign.
  • The Social Work Career Center is a career website where social workers can search national job listings and find professional development and career resources that span across the duration of a social worker's professional career. The Career Center is also a resource to social worker employers. Employers of social work can find and recruit qualified, credentialed, and licensed social workers across the country.
  • Social Workers Speak was developed by NASW to allow social workers and the general public to critique and improve the way social workers and social issues are covered in the news media, and portrayed in the entertainment industries. The site is sponsored by the NASW Communications Network (NCN), which represents educators, researchers, practitioners and policymakers throughout the social work community. The NASW Foundation supports Social Workers Speak.
  • The NASW Social Work Pin Program is managed by the Foundation and instills pride in the profession. Silver-plated pins are available for $10 apiece to schools of social work for graduating seniors. The pins encourage pride in social work, distinguish social work from other programs on campus, and build loyalty to social work schools. All proceeds from pin sales are spent on NASW Public Education Campaign activities to educate key stakeholders, including the media, policymakers, employers, social workers, and the public about the importance of the social work profession.

Social Work Policy Institute

The Social Work Policy Institute (SWPI) is a think tank established in 2009 within the NASW Foundation to strengthen social work’s voice in public policy deliberations, inform policymakers through the collection and dissemination of information on social work effectiveness, and create a forum to examine current and future issues in health care and social service delivery. The Institute examines issues that relate to the work of social workers, including how to serve people who have multiple or complex needs, and how public agencies, and other structures deliver health and human services.

NASW Center For Workforce Studies

According to the NASW Center For Workforce Studies:  For many years, there has been limited information about the social work labor force. As the demand for social work services increases, so too does the demand for data about the social work labor force. The NASW Center For Workforce Studies seeks to establish a leadership role for NASW in addressing this information gap and strengthening the link between science and service (research and practice).

The NASW Center for Workforce Studies was established in 2004 with a three-fold mission:

  • To conduct studies of the current social work labor force as well as collect information from other sources in order to serve as a unique clearinghouse for educators, policy makers, social workers, and public and private work force planners;
  • To enhance social work professional development through innovative training programs in emerging practice areas; and
  • To disseminate timely information and resources on evidence-based practices.

According to the Center, this information is critical to determine trends in employment, to address professional training needs, to quantify barriers to quality serv ice delivery, and to inform relevant policy and advocacy efforts.

Social Work Disaster Assistance Fund

NASW established the Social Work Disaster Assistance Fund to provide assistance to those affected by disasters such as September 11, Hurricane Katrina, the Indonesian Tsunami, the devastating earthquakes in Haiti in 2010 and Japan in 2011, the Ebola Crisis, and the Louisiana flooding in 2016. Most recently funds have been raised in response to Hurricane Maria’s devastation in 2017 in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Donations are awarded to social workers and/or social welfare organizations that can provide assistance to those who have suffered loss and are in need of financial, or other assistance due to a disaster. To help maximize the effects of donations, preference is given to assisting social workers who in turn can help others. Most important, 100% of disaster assistance funds raised go directly to helping others.

Social Work Ethics And Law Institute 

The Social Work Ethics and Law Institute (SWELI) is a center within the NASW Foundation. SWELI was created by the NASW Legal Defense Fund to enhance social workers’ understanding and knowledge of legal and ethical issues affecting the social work profession. SWELI was established in 2005 as an educational project of the NASW Legal Defense Fund, with the support of the NASW National Ethics Committee.

SWELI was created to further one of the important purposes of the NASW Legal Defense Fund: to conduct educational activities and establish education programs related to legal, ethical, and professional issues to assist NASW members, the social work profession, and the public to understand importance of ethical social work issues.

Social Work Across Nations 

Social Work Across Nations (SWAN) was initiated by NASW to provide a mechanism for social workers to offer their expertise and skills to serve humanitarian needs within the international community on a voluntary basis and to develop collaborative linkages with other countries around the world.

NASW Foundation Representatives Participate In April 2017 Social Work Day At United Nations

Social Work Day at the United Nations (UN) April 2017 - NASW Foundation Director, Bob Arnold; NASW Foundation Assistant Director, Susan Rubin; and NASW Pioneer and Howard University School of Social Work Professor, Dr. Cudore Snell.

NASW CEO Dr. Angelo McClain Talks With Particpants At 2017 Social Work Day At United Nations

NASW Chief Executive Officer and Foundation President, Dr. Angelo McClain meets with participants at the Social Work Day at the United Nations, April 2017 in New York. NASW participates each year at this annual event.




NASW Social Work Talks Podcast Logo


In Episode 5, NASW Social Work Talks Podcast features the Director of the NASW Foundation, Bob Arnold.   Tune in for a discussion about the Foundation's many educational, research, and  charitable  initiatives.