Emerging Social Work Leader Award

The Emerging Social Work Leader Award honors a member of the National Association of Social Workers who has been in practice for five years or less and has demonstrated outstanding contributions as a leader who is at the beginning phase of their social work career.


The award recipient must:

  1. Have an MSW degree from an accredited graduate social work program
  2. Have five or fewer years of post-masters practice experience
  3. Make a demonstrably difference in such areas as:
    • Community service/leadership; 
    • Advocacy
    • Social Work Practice
    • Education
    • Research
    • Management and leadership 
  4. Risks the nominee took to achieve results 
  5. Contribute to a positive image for the social work profession 
  6.  Be an NASW member in good standing.

Nomination Procedure

NASW Chapters, and individuals may nominate a social worker by submitting the following:

  1. Completed official awards nomination form
  2. A summary that describes:
    • What the nominee has accomplished
    • What risks the nominee took to achieve results
    • Who the beneficiaries were
  3. Curriculum vita 
  4. Three (3) endorsements

To ensure the nominee’s eligibility, please adhere to the nomination guidelines. Use clear, concise, descriptive examples of activities and accomplishments. The National Awards Committee selects and makes recommendations to the NASW Board of Directors, which approves the award recipient.


Please contact us at governance@socialworkers.org or 202-336-8270.

To learn more about the NASW Foundation Awards, please visit the Foundation's website

2022 Distinguished Awardees

  • Emerging Social Work Leader
    Monique Bingham, MSW
  • Public Citizen of the Year
    Dan Broyles, LMFT
  • Social Worker of the Year
    Patrice A. Palmer, DD, CDKA, MSW, LSW
  • Lifetime Achievement Award
    Nancy D. Miller, LMSW
  • Public Elected Official of the Year
    The Late Honorable Congressman John Lewis
  • Knee/Wittman Lifetime Achievement
    Denise Juliano-Bult, MSW
  • Knee/Wittman Outstanding Achievement
    The Honorable Deputy Secretary Andrea Palm, MSW
  • International Rhoda G. Sarnat Award
    Silas W. Kelly, LMSW