Foundation & Chapter Partnership


The NASW Foundation assists NASW’s 55 Chapters with charitable activities including grant development and fundraising for scholarships and fellowships, educational, research, and training projects.  The Foundation also processes hundreds of donations, totaling tens of thousands of dollars annually for NASW's Chapters.  

The Foundation manages this partnership with a comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure that funds are maintained and allocated in accordance with their intended purposes, and within state and federal tax laws, and other rules and regulations.  NASW Chapters interested in more information about partnering with the NASW Foundation on charitable initiatives should contact staff at naswfoundation@socialworkers.org.

Foundation As Defined By IRS: A 501(c)(3) Entity

A section of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Code that defines and qualifies nonprofit organizations for special treatment under Federal tax laws, is known as 501(c)(3) tax status. Organizations qualify for this status if the expressed purpose is to promote charitable, educational, and scientific goals. Having 501(c)(3) status allows nonprofits to be tax exempt and to accept donations for which donors receive Federal tax deductions if they wish. Limitations within this tax status, however, prohibit activities that benefit a shareholder, or individual; and, restrict lobbying, or attempts to influence legislation. The NASW Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization. 

NASW And NASW Chapters As Defined By IRS: Are 501(c)(6) Organizations

A section of the Internal Revenue Service Code addresses corporations organized around a common business interest (the purpose of which is to promote the interest), is known as 501(c)(6) tax status. These organizations must improve the business condition of the industry in general rather than benefiting individual members. Contributions to 501(c)(6) organizations cannot be deducted as charitable contributions. The National Association of Social Workers (including its Chapters) is a 501(c)(6) organization.

When Chapters Should Partner With The Foundation

NASW Chapters should partner with the Foundation within the following guidelines:

  • The activity has a scientific, educational, charitable purpose.
  • The donor receives a charitable tax deduction if desired.
  • The funds are from an entity (corporation, foundation, government) that can only give to a 501(c)(3) organization (and cannot give to a 501(c)(6) organization, i.e., directly to a NASW Chapter).
  • The activity does not involve lobbying or attempts to influence legislation.

When Chapters Should Not Partner With the Foundation

NASW Chapters should not partner with the Foundation within the following parameters:

  • The activity includes political lobbying or advocacy.
  • No charitable deduction is desired by the donor.
  • Advertising and, or “quid pro quo” sponsorship is involved.
  • The activity involves registrations for conferences, etc. A tax deduction cannot be provided for these purposes, hence, there is no reason to go through the Foundation.

Why Chapters Partner With The Foundation

There are some great reasons why NASW Chapters should partner with the NASW Foundation:

  • NASW Foundation is the organization approved by the IRS to handle the above described gifts (i.e. the activity has a scientific, educational, charitable purpose and the donor desires a tax deduction for the charitable contribution).
  • The NASW Foundation is registered to solicit funds in the various states (approximately 40) where registration is required.  
  • The NASW Foundation may register to be exempt from State Income Tax (there are advantages and disadvantages to Chapters; please consult the Foundation if you have questions.).
  • Legally, NASW Chapters cannot directly accept tax-deductible contributions from individuals, or funding from organizations that by law can only make gifts to 501(c)(3) organizations.  
NASW Foundation Manager of Fund Development, Kerri Criswell, MSW, with NASW Maryland Chapter, Executive Director, Daphne McClellan, PhD 2018

NASW Foundation Manager of Fund Development, Kerri Criswell, MSW, (left) with NASW Maryland Chapter, Executive Director, Daphne McClellan, PhD at 2018 NASW National Conference in Washington, D.C.



2017 SLA Florida Alumni With NASW Florida Executive Director Jim Atkins, ACSW

2017 Supervisory Leaders In Aging (SLA) program graduates with NASW Florida Chapter Executive Director, Jim Atkins, ACSW (right) at SLA graduation ceremony in Florida. 


Valerie Arendt, MSW, MPP - NASW North Carolina Chapter Executive Director

Chapter Partner

"The NASW Foundation is essential to honoring the history of the social work profession through the NASW Social Work Pioneers® and supporting future social workers with awards for students and new professionals. We can only move forward in our efforts to advance social justice and social welfare if we know where we have come from and the NASW Foundation is critical in that endeavor."

Valerie Arendt, MSW, MPP - NASW North Carolina Chapter, Executive Director