NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Violet M. Sieder (1909-1988)
Violet M. Sieder's vision and commitment made her a respected social work activist at local, state, federal, and international levels during her 45 year career. An acclaimed national expert on community organization and volunteerism, Sieder was a leader in the professional associations that created NASW, and in the National Conference on Social Welfare.
Sieder was a Professor Emerita of Brandeis University's Heller School of Social Welfare. She also taught at the New York School of Social Work at Columbia University. Sieder's long, illustrious career included positions at the U.S. Children's Bureau, National Community Chests and Councils of America, U.S. State Department in Germany following World War II, and the National Council of Social Services in England. Her work and writings were influential in the development of community organization as a recognized field of practice.
After retirement from her academic career, Sieder founded the Massachusetts Human Services Coalition, the foremost advocacy organization for low income issues in the state. The group established an award in her memory. Violet Sieder's personal qualities exemplified the best of the social work profession. Her sharp mind, creativity, outspokenness, courage, emphasis on group decision making, commitment to the poor and disenfranchised, and willingness to devote time and energy to the causes she believed in made her a role model for untold numbers of students and colleagues.
Equally available to stuff envelopes as to meet with high public officials, Vi (as everyone called her), knew how to get things done. Her charisma drew others to the effort, and inspired and empowered them.
The world is greatly enriched because of Violet Sieder's contributions.