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Case Western Reserve University students honor 10 NASW Social Work Pioneers®

Dr. Sanford Kravitz



Dr. Kravitz has had a long and distinguished social work career. His social action work began when he was still a graduate student at Columbia in 1948. In the middle of his graduate school studies Dr. Kravitz was off to Italy in the summers of 1948 and 1949 directing American Friends Service Committee (Quaker) volunteer work camps to aid in the reconstruction of war torn communities.

Upon the receipt of his MSW in 1950, he became the head of the New York Office of the American Friends Service Committee where he led Peace Education programs for college students and international seminars for foreign students.

In 1953, became the Associate Director of the Welfare Council of Delaware. In this position he led a statewide effort to improve housing conditions for migrant workers and sparked innovative approaches to urban renewal. Both activities led to legislative reforms and heightened public awareness of these issues.

In 1956, he became the Executive Director of the Schenectady New York Welfare Council. In this position he launched major programs for the Aging and research on the problem of Chronic Illness. He also chaired the Albany Area NASW Chapter for one year.

In 1960 he entered the PHD program at the Heller School at Brandeis with a concentration in Social Policy. In April 1962, he became Program Director of the President's Committee on Juvenile Delinquency in the Department of Justice working under Attorney General Robert Kennedy. He played a leading role in the design of what was later to become the Community Action Program in the Poverty Program.

In January 1964 he was the only social worker asked to join President Johnson's Task Force on Poverty. In this role he was one of two persons responsible for the design of the Community Action Program portion in the Economic Opportunity Act. In the spring and summer of 1964 he visited scores of cities to interpret the poverty legislation and to enlist political support.

When the Office of Economic Opportunity opened in October 1964, Dr. Kravitz was placed in charge of all the Community Action Research, Demonstration and Training Programs and in 1965-1966 was responsible for a budget of $125 million dollars. Under his leadership, his office launched the Foster Grandparent Program, Upward Bound, Neighborhood Health Centers, the Navajo Rough Rock Demonstration School, the Rosebud Sioux Housing Program as well as the early work on the design of Head Start.

In late 1966, Dr., Kravitz joined the Faculty of the Heller School as Associate Professor of Social Planning but continued working as a consultant to HUD, the Social Security Administration and to the National Council of Juvenile Court Judges. He was also sent to India on behalf of the Dept. of State to assist Indian Universities in their efforts to become more involved in local community development.

In September 1969 he was recruited to the State University of New York at Stony Brook to become the founding dean of a new School of Social Welfare. He served as Dean and Professor of Social Welfare for ten years while he continued to fill assignments, both nationally and internationally, for the Ford Foundation and the Stem Family Fund, among others. As Dean, he was a role model for scores of students who went on to leadership positions in Social Work.

In September 1979, Dr. Kravitz was appointed to the position of Distinguished Professor of Public Affairs at Florida International University in Miami Florida. In his first year at FIU he designed a new MSW program. He later planned and led the efforts to establish the South Florida Center on Aging and the South Florida Center on Children and Families at Risk. He also led the University through its successful 10-year re-accreditation program. In 1990, Dr. Kravitz was given the singular honor of the University's Distinguished Service Award.

In 1993, he moved to Sedona, Arizona and became the Director of the Center for Arts and Education of the Sedona Cultural Park. In 1997, Dr. Kravitz became Senior Vice President for Programs at the Arizona Community Foundation. He was responsible for managing annual granting of over four million dollars to not for profit organizations in Arizona. His leadership led to new foundation programs in foster care, education, rural community development, food programs, Native American housing and early childhood education.

He has served as Senior Adviser to the Piper Charitable Trust, (the State's largest foundation), and the Grand Canyon National Park Foundation. He has served as Vice President of the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center. He currently serves as Senior Adviser to Arizona's Children Association., the State's largest not for profit family and child welfare agency. He also serves as an adviser to the Director of the Arizona State Department. of Economic Security.