skip to main content

In Nonprofit Organizations: Promoting Social Justice is Everyone’s Business


Elaine Congress, DSW, LCSW Past president of NASW-NYC
Associate Dean and Professor at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service

How would you describe the nonprofit organization where you work? A nonprofit organization is generally described as an association that conducts business for the benefit of the general public without shareholders and without a profit motive, and these adjectives are frequently used to describe the work of nonprofits – altruistic, beneficent, charitable, humanitarian, and philanthropic. Does this sound familiar to those of us who work in very different social service agencies, substance abuse facilities, hospitals, outpatient medical and behavioral health centers or universities? The mission of nonprofit organizations is very compatible with the social work value of social justice, one of the six main values outlined in the NASW Code of Ethics with the related ethical principle that social workers work to challenge social injustice or stated more positively, social workers work to promote social justice. Whether we serve individual clients, families, communities, consumers, or students we, all share this common mission as we all work on behalf of vulnerable and oppressed individuals and continually fight against poverty, unemployment, discrimination, and other forms of social injustice. In agencies “we strive to ensure access to needed information, services, and resources; equality of opportunity; and meaningful participation in decision making for all people.”



Comments are closed.