NASW Foundation National
Social Work Pioneers
Mary Funnye Goldson, MSC (1935-1990)
Funnye Goldson made significant contributions in child welfare and social
work education throughout her professional career, which spanned more
than 30 years. She was known as a master teacher, child advocate, program
developer, organizational consultant, trainer, mentor, and professional
role model, particularly for other African American social workers.
She was said to have a transforming influence in the lives of her students,
consultees, and colleagues, and was well known and respected in professional
and academic communities.
perspectives on issues facing poor families and their children were
influenced during her early career in health care and antipoverty programs.
In her role as trainer, consultant, board participant, city and state
task force member, and scholar, she lent an empathetic and reasoned
voice for children. Goldson challenged child welfare workers and their
supervisors to improve service delivery, and urged government officials
to provide grater resources and supports.
vision for comprehensive services to families and children helped shape
the Family Union program in New York City. This program offered both
formal and informal supports to help strengthen families while providing
a protective and nourishing environment for children. Through her participation
with the Citizens' Committee for Children (Governor Cuomo's Task Force),
agency boards, and other official bodies, she was instrumental in shaping
permanency-planning policies in New York.
1969, Goldson joined the faculty of Columbia University School of Social
Work where she specialized in social work practice with individuals,
groups, and services to children and families. She was enormously influential
in the development of child welfare curricula, group work, and generalist
practice at Columbia. In addition, Goldson served as principal investigator
of major federal grants in the field of adoption and child welfare training.
served on a number of boards including: Louise Wise Services; New York
Spaulding for Children; Child Welfare Information Service, Inc.; and
Saving Families for Children. She wrote many articles and professional