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Margaret Berry (1915 - 2002)

Margaret Berry was well known throughout the world of social work, nationally and internationally, both because of her work in the field of group work, and her work with the National Conference on Social Welfare, of which she was President in 1970-1971 and then as Executive Director from 1972 to 1979.

Margaret worked in the field of group work in 1941 in Pittsburgh, PA at the Soho community House. Before becoming Executive Director of the National Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers in 1952 she worked with the YWCA of Cleveland, Ohio, the National Social Welfare Assembly, for which she worked with the German Youth Leadership Project under a Rockefeller Foundation grant. She continued her work with the National Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers until 1971.

Her contributions as a Pioneer can be found in the period of almost 20 years when she was with the National Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers during which time many changes were seen in this area of group work. New affiliates were established in many communities until she was responsible for 51 cities. Standard
setting became a part of the day to day business. Training programs were developed for those involved in operating programs and their volunteers. The need for professional publications became necessary for the professionalism of group work. It was necessary to address greater Congressional and legislative intervention in programs of a group work nature, and she was actively involved in developing group work activities on an international basis.

These pioneering interests and activities required a person with a good professional background, one with vision and concern for those children and adults involved in group work programs, and one with a great deal of energy and dedication.

Margaret Berry was honored on several occasions for the contributions she has made to the field of social work, particularly that of social group work. She received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Albion College and the School of Applied Social Sciences, Case-Reserve University, the Jane Addams Award from the National Federation of Settlements, the Grace Coyle Award for her International Contributions, and Special Citations from both the National Conference on Social Welfare and the National Committee on the Advancement of Social Work with Groups.

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