Spotlight On Chapters

The NASW Foundation is proud to work with its NASW Chapter partners on a wide variety of projects and programs.  We provide a snapshot here of the scholarship, fellowship, educational, training, and charitable initiatives that are made possible through this collaboration.

NASW Chapter Charitable Programs

NASW Chapters provide an array of scholarship and fellowship opportunities to members - below are examples of their initiatives:

Featured NASW Chapter Executive Director Profile

NASW-IL Executive Director Joel L. RubinIn 2019-2020, NASW-Illinois Chapter Executive Director, Joel L. Rubin, MSW, ACSW, CAE, worked with the NASW Foundation (Chapter Fiscal Sponsor) and Loyola University School of Social Work on a workforce study: “An Evaluation of the Illinois Social Work Workforce: Challenges and Opportunities.” The initiative was funded by a generous $50,000 grant from the Telligen Community Initiative.

“The Telligen Workforce grant has enabled the Illinois Chapter to research workforce issues that confirm many perceptions of the social work workforce challenges in the state,” according to Rubin. He said the main purposes of the study were to: 

  • understand Illinois social work workforce challenges and barriers;
  • identify specific geographic and areas where shortages of social workers existed; and,
  • identify a strategy for improving the current and future social work workforce in the state of Illinois.
“The report,” he said, “calls on the state to help Illinois support its most vulnerable citizens in need of services by making the following recommendations:”
  • Promote the social work profession as a key component of the state’s mental health workforce. 
  • Expand the pipeline of qualified and diverse individuals to enter the social work profession through higher education tuition support. 
  • Work with employers and state agencies to promote a diverse human service, health, and mental health workforce by hiring social workers as organizational leaders who reflect the consumers of human services. 
  • Support employers to provide incentives to reflect the important role that social work can play in strengthening services in rural Illinois. 
“The report’s specific recommendations for the state of Illinois, as well as the significant research achieved, will lay the groundwork for even more efforts towards strengthening our profession’s workforce throughout the state and the country,” according to Rubin. 

To read the full report and executive summary, please follow these links:

The project was funded by the Telligen Community Initiative to initiate and support, through research and programs, innovative and farsighted health-related projects aimed at improving the health, social well-being and educational attainment of society, where such needs are expressed. 

More About Joel Rubin and the NASW-Illinois Chapter

Joel Rubin has served as the Executive Director of the 5,000 member NASW-IL Chapter since October of 1999. He has more than 25 years of non-for-profit management and fundraising experience, including extensive work with boards of directors, committees and volunteers, and advocacy around a wide variety of social work, human service and international political issues. In addition to his responsibilities in Illinois, he served as Acting Deputy Director of Chapter Operations for NASW from March 2019 to July 2020.

When asked about key career accomplishments, Rubin said they are, “Provide leadership opportunities for social workers throughout the state, whether in elected or appointed Chapter position, and encouraging members to shared their knowledge and expertise through presenting workshops at our conferences or regular professional development programming, as well working toward strengthening social work licensing in the state of Illinois.”

He highlighted three top accomplishments, as Executive Director of the NASW-IL Chapter: 
  • expanding Medicaid billing for LCSWs in all settings;
  • increasing advocacy on clinical issues; and,
  • most recently, working with chapter leadership and staff to navigate the COVID pandemic.

As with any job, there are both fulfilling and challenging aspects of the work. “Providing the support and tools for social workers to advance and success in their respective careers in chosen practice areas,” is very fulfilling he said. The most challenging part of the job is, “Trying to satisfy and respond to all practice areas of the profession. NASW is not just focused on mental health, private clinical practice or child welfare, but every practice area of the profession.”

“Working to enhance members’ professional development, create and maintain professional standards, and advance sound social policies,” are among the daily priorities, he said. The Chapter tenets are to: 1) advance members’ careers; 2) help members grow their practices/businesses; and, 3) protect the profession.

At the end of the day, what he loves about being a social worker is, “The ability to view issues through a range of lensesclinical (micro), macro, social justice, and ethical. The profession continues to evolve which makes for challenging and rewarding work.”

Rubin received his MSW from Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois of Chicago in 1983 and a BA in Comparative Politics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1981. He is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW) and is also a Certified Association Executive (CAE).

Please visit the NASW-IL Chapter website for more information about its work on advocacy, social policy, professional issues, continuing education, and other priorities.

You might also be interested in a Telligen Workforce Study published by the NASW-Iowa Chapter in collaboration with the University of Iowa School of Social Work and the NASW Foundation in 2018-2019. Please follow this link to read more >>

A NASW Foundation & Chapter Success Story

The John A. Hartford Foundation awarded the NASW Foundation a $1 million, three-year grant, in 2015, to launch a program through NASW Chapters in New York City, Maryland, Illinois, and Florida that will improve the delivery of health care and social services to older adults. The NASW Supervisory Leaders In Aging (SLA) Program established gerontological social work supervision training programs in these four chapters and an ongoing practice excellence network among its graduates. The program provided a 10-module training, addressing both gerontological social work, and supervisory and leadership skills, to 160 master’s-level social workers (MSWs) who supervise staff serving older adults. NASW is working to expand the program nationally based on the lessons learned with the first four NASW Chapters. NASW projects the 160 supervisors will train approximately 1,280 staff to work with older adults. These staff members, in turn, are expected to serve more than 115,000 clients each year.

Illinois Supervisory Leaders In Aging Receive Graduates Receive Certificates In 2016

Class of Supervisory Leaders In Aging (SLA) graduates receive their certificates at 2016 NASW Illinois Chapter graduation ceremony in Chicago, Illinois.

Illinois Executive Director Joel Rubin Presents SLA Graduate Certificate With NASW Director Bob Arnold

NASW Illinois Chapter Executive Director, Joel Rubin, MSW, ACSW, CAE, presents Supervisory Leaders In Aging (SLA) graduate her certificate with NASW Foundation Director, Bob Arnold (right).


Chapter Partner

"The NASW Foundation enables us to collect funds to offer several annual scholarships to our student members.  We appreciate being able to support the next generation of up and coming social workers in this manner." 

Sonja Bigalke-Bannan, MSW, LSW – NASW Hawai’i Chapter, Executive Director

Executive Director Profiles

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