National Awards ProgramThe Public Elected Official of the Year Award

Elected officials make decisions about a broad range of issues that, when enacted into law, represent the collective values of our society. Of particular interest to the social work profession are policies that affect social justice, health care, education, civil and human rights, and social work practice. In recognition of the responsibilities and challenges of public service, NASW established an annual award to recognize the outstanding service and contributions of an elected official. Special consideration will be given to social workers elected to public office.


The award recipient must:

  • Be an elected official serving, at the time of nomination, in public office at the local, state, or national level
  • Make a significant contribution to public service while in office
  • Demonstrate leadership in advancing public policy in the area of vulnerable populations, civil and human rights, or social welfare
  • Demonstrate leadership on behalf of the protection and advancement of social work practice

NASW chapters, individuals, and social welfare organizations may nominate a public elected official by submitting the following. Click here to submit a nomination.

  • Completed official nomination form
  • A summary that describes
    • Nature of leadership demonstrated on issues of concern to the social
    • work profession
    • Short and long-term effect of his or her leadership
    • How the social work profession and those served are affected
  • Curriculum vita
  • Three (3) endorsements (including one from the NASW chapter in the state where the nominee resides)

To ensure the nominee’s eligibility, please adhere to the nomination guidelines. Use clear, concise, descriptive examples of activities and accomplishments. Incomplete nominations will not be accepted. The National Awards Committee selects and makes recommendations to the National Board of Directors, which approves the award recipient.
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