NASW and NASW Foundation Awards

The NASW and NASW Foundation Awards recognize leaders in the profession and in our communities who fully embody social work values and ethics. Our past award recipients have accomplished the extraordinary and we have been honored to recognize them.


Nominations for the next award cycle closed December 2, 2021Announcements for the recipients of the awards will be made in April 2022.

Award Categories

We need your participation to keep the tradition moving forward. Please consider nominating a social worker or individual who exemplifies the best of the profession’s values for one of the following awards:

  • A professional social worker who has made significant contributions or developed model programs that have been replicated for Social Worker of the Year or Lifetime Achievement
  • An individual who has gone above and beyond in their community for Public Citizen of the Year
  • An elected official who has shown leadership in public policy issues important to the profession for Public Elected Official of the Year
  • A social worker who is at the beginning phase of their career (five years post graduate) and who has demonstrated outstanding leadership as a developing professional for the Emerging Social Work Leader.
  • A professional social worker who has made exemplary contributions in health and mental health practice for Knee/Wittman Lifetime Achievement
  • An individual or group that has made a significant impact on national mental health public policy, professional standards, or program models for Knee/Wittman Outstanding Achievement
  • An individual, group, or organization that has significantly advanced the public image of professional social work for the International Rhoda G. Sarnat Award


Please contact us at or 202-336-8270.

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

2020 Distinguished Awardees