NASW Social Work Pioneers®



The NASW Social Work Pioneers® program honors members of the social work profession who have contributed to the evolution and enrichment of the profession. The Pioneer Program identifies and recognizes individuals whose unique dedication, commitment, and determination have improved social and human conditions. Since its launch in 1994, the Pioneer Program has inducted almost 900 accomplished individuals to its rolls.  A comprehensive collection of their stories can be found within the Pioneer Biography Index.



NASW Social Work Pioneers® 16th Annual Celebration 2022


2022 Omni PioneerInvite-Thumbnail

 Are you ready to honor 38 new Social Work Pioneers in Washington, D.C., on October 15th?

We hope you will join us at the Omni Shoreham as we celebrate these remarkable individuals who have devoted their lives to social work, touching thousands of lives in the process.

Please register HERE to be a part of this historic event. And, if you can’t come in person, please consider donating to the Foundation on the registration page.*

Gifts of $50 and above will be listed in the event program. 
Gifts of $100 and above will be listed in the event program and Social Work Advocates magazine.  

Tickets, $200, must be purchased online. 

View Full Invitation and Register


The NASW Foundation Wishes to Thank Event Sponsors


Penn Social Policy & Practice University of Pennsylvania
columbia school of social work
NASW assurance services

berkeley social welfare
ASWB Association of Social Work Boards
Baylor University Diana R Garland School of Social Work

USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work
Fordham the jesuit university of new york graduate school of social service

Pioneer Nominations Accepted On A Rolling Basis 

Completed NASW Pioneer nominations can be submitted throughout the year and are reviewed at the June Pioneer Steering Committee Meeting.  To be considered at the June meeting, submit your nomination package by March 31.  Learn More >>

The NASW Legacy Project Preserves History

The NASW Legacy Project was created in 2001 to preserve NASW's historical record. The Project enables NASW to identify and preserve the photographs, books, papers, and other documents that will tell the NASW story for decades to come. Read More >>

Newly Inducted NASW Social Work Pioneer Hortense McClinton 2015

Nomination Deadline

Nominate a new member of the NASW Social Work Pioneers®! 

Please note, Pioneer nominations made between today’s date through March 31, 2023, will not be reviewed until spring 2023.

The annual Pioneers nomination submission deadline is March 31. The Pioneer Steering Committee will consider completed packages received by March 31 at the June Pioneer Steering Committee Meeting.  Follow this link to the Pioneer Nomination Application Form >>

Lit Candles Glittering In Dark

Memorials and Tributes

To honor living individuals, deceased colleagues, mentors, friends, or loved ones, by making a tax-deductible contribution please visit our Memorials and Tributes section. All gifts will be acknowledged on the NASW Foundation website and gifts of $100, or more, will be acknowledged in NASW's new magazine Social Work Advocates, which is published six times each year. You can also leave tributes to NASW friends who have passed away on the NASW Foundation Blog.