On Giving Day, Help a Future Social Worker Say “Yes”

October 21, 2022 @ 7:46 pm

Like many countries around the world, the United States faces a shortage of social workers. According to some reports, 44 million American adults are living with mental illness, and more and more young people are grappling with depression. COVID-19 continues to exacerbate inequities in wealth, health care, and child well-being. Racism causes stress and anxiety, increasing suicidal ideation. Opioid-related deaths continue to run rampant in many communities. 

Meanwhile, holes in the availability of mental health care are appearing everywhere, including social work. There are not enough Black social workers, not enough rural social workers, not enough school social workers, not enough young social workers preparing to take the place of retiring baby boomers. This situation is expected to worsen over the next ten years. According to a 2019 article in Social Work Today, many mental health conditions will go untreated, and without large numbers of qualified clinicians entering the field, existing social workers risk burnout.

With your support, graduates of the School of Social Work can step into this gap as highly qualified, empathetic, and culturally competent direct-care practitioners. Others can become government policy makers and leaders of social service agencies, or work in international social work, having an impact on poverty, refugee crises, and humanitarian efforts following natural disasters.

Regardless of the path they choose, what CSSW graduates do is at the core of just and equitable societies, forming a critical component of the fight for equity. But the School, having no large endowment, relies largely on gifts from alumni and others to help our students complete their training and derive the full benefit of their Columbia experience. 

We know that New York City is an expensive place to live and study. Yet it offers an incomparable opportunity to learn from the top cadre of scholars, experience the excitement and diversity of one of the world’s greatest cities, and form a network of colleagues that will last a lifetime.

This year Columbia’s Giving Day is on Tuesday, October 26. Your gift of any amount, when combined with other gifts, will support a future social worker’s ability to say “Yes.”

  • Yes to the Columbia School of Social Work, rather than another program, because the financial aid package has made the prospect of an Ivy League graduate degree achievable.
  • Yes to the field placement they were hoping for in another borough, although it may require a few more hours a week of paid child care.
  • Yes to attending that guest lecture in person with a group of classmates, even though it means another trip on their Metrocard.
  • Yes to accepting the job offer that’s aligned with their values, because a scholarship has reduced their amount of student debt.
  • And most of all, yes to a career as a social worker.