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® 17th Annual Celebration 

October 14, 2023

2023 pioneers celebration invitation



Keynote Speaker

Anthony Estreet, PhD, MBA, LCSW-C
President, NASW Foundation


Special Guest


Arthur McFarlane II
Great Grandson of W.E.B. Du Bois

Students and Pioneers will look to the future as they share solutions to challenges facing social workers today. 

Hotel Reservation Options

The Cosmos Club (limited room availability)
call 202-387-7783 or email 

The Ven at Embassy Row
call 202-265-1600 (Option #2) or book online

Special Group Rate through September 22, 2023
Mention 2023 Pioneer Event

View Invitation



Pioneer Reception

Pioneer Event


Read the full PDF

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®! 

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 >>

New Pioneers 

Congratulations newly elected Pioneers!   

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.