NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
James Dumpson (1909-2012 )
James Dumpson was a vice president of the New York Community Trust, one of the nation's largest, oldest and most respected philanthropic organizations and a leader in the community foundation movement. The trust distributes about $60 million each year to projects primarily in the New York City area.
Dumpson's pioneering work began in 1959 when he made history by being named Commissioner of Welfare for the City of New York. His appointment was marked as the first time a social worker had held that position. At the time, Dumpson was the only black welfare commissioner in the country. He returned to the city seven years later to become administrator of the Human Resources Department.
His pioneering work continued as he was also named dean of Fordham University's School of Social Work. With this appointment he became the first black dean of a non-black school of social work. Fordham later named an endowed academic chair for him.
James Dumpson advised presidents Kennedy and Johnson, serving in his capacity as a social worker on various advisory commissions, including the Presidents Commission on Narcotics and Drug Abuse. He was also appointed U.N. advisor to the government of Pakistan to help that new government set up schools of social work after its partition from India.