NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Larry Lee is a distinguished social work administrator, community leader and civic advocate. His career has made a positive impact locally in New York and globally. Lee has been a change agent as executive director of the New York Asian Women’s Center (NYAWC) since 2007. It is the largest Asian American domestic violence and human trafficking survivor-serving agency in the country. It also serves as a national model for sexual assault services by providing a 24-hour hotline, counseling, case management, advocacy and shelter to survivors and their children. NYAWC recently added legal immigration and transitional housing services to its many resources.
Lee also created Moving Ahead Positively, a program for survivors to become more harmonious with their environment by learning triggers of trauma and utilizing acupuncture, tai chi and yoga to manage symptoms. He founded the Chinese Community Social Service and Health Council (now known as the Asian Health and Social Service Council), which has 40 member agencies.
more than 30 years ago and was its first president.
As a leader of the social work profession, Lee founded, and for ten years ran, the Social Worker’s Cooperative, an internationally-recognized self-help organization and job bank for social workers.
Prior to heading the NYAWC, Larry Lee was Chief Program Officer of the Educational Alliance and was responsible for the settlement house’s 85 programs, serving 40,000 people. He was also Associate Commissioner of New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services, Division of Child Care and Head Start from 2002 to 2005. The division administers the largest subsidized childcare system in the nation, with a budget of $750,000,000 and nearly 300 employees.
Lee is the founder of the first Mandarin and English dual-language public school in the country. Since its inception, PS 184 ranked in the top ten of all New York City public schools, the only one serving poor immigrant children. Lee also served on the board of the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, a premiere advocacy organization. CACF. is a coalition of 150 organizations and individual members.
For 11 years, Lee directed Victim Services Family, Clinical and Community Services division, which is now named Safe Horizons. It is the largest domestic violence agency in the nation.
Lee founded the Chinatown Voter Education Alliance, which existed for 25 years.
Larry Lee has a Diplomate in Clinical Social Work and an MSW from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College in 1976. He also earned an MA in psychology form Hunter College in 1976.
Significant Achievements and Awards
2011: Awarded Top Social Work Leader by the NASW New York City Chapter
2005: Lee was honored by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg as an outstanding New Yorker who made a difference in the lives of immigrant and other New Yorkers. He was also previously honored by former mayor Edward Koch for his volunteer efforts.
1999: WCBS-TV in New York featured Lee as one of 15 “inspiring individuals whose extraordinary civic accomplishments fulfill the dream of Martin Luther King”.
Lee is in the Hunter College Hall of Fame
Lee, J. & Lee, L. (2002). Crossing the Divide: Asian American Families and Child Welfare System. New York, NY: CACF.