NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
George M. Nishinaka (1923 - 2000)
George Nishinaka was a graduate of Occidental College and the University of California School of Social Work in the 1950's. He became the Executive Director of a small United Way Agency, Special Service for Groups Inc. In his more than two decades career there, the agency grew from a small, group work focused program to a multi-program, research and development agency specializing in assisting neighborhood and community groups in establishing programs and services and then achieving self-sufficiency. As agency head, his visionary leadership and macro- level practice of the day truly put him ahead of his time.
He was a WWII veteran, having fought in the European Theatre as a member of the legendary 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the all-Nisei unit in the U. S. Army. Following his retirement from Special Services for Groups (SSG) in 1984, he turned much of his boundless energy into a capital campaign to build a fitting memorial to these men who fought the dual battles of defending democracy abroad and fighting racism at home.
George was very active in NASW having served in many leadership positions at the state and national level. He died in March of 2000.