The USC Social Work Initiative

To understand the impact social workers have on society, imagine a world without them. Who would protect the severely abused child? Who would stand on the road in a war-torn country, consoling soldiers traumatized by what they have lost or witnessed? Who would find shelter for the homeless, comfort and counsel abused women, or help the disabled and elderly achieve greater independence and self-confidence? Who would advocate for the disenfranchised, and help communities address problems of disaster, violence and loss?

Social work addresses the most challenging of human and societal problems. It is also among the most rewarding and meaningful careers. Social workers form the backbone of social services for children and families, the homeless, the elderly, veterans and those affected by mental illness. They lead charities and nonprofit organizations; they are essential members of multidisciplinary scientific research communities; they formulate and implement governmental policies.

The USC Social Work Initiative will raise $75 million, part of the historic Campaign for the University of Southern California, providing the investment necessary to develop highly trained practitioners and visionary leaders who will shape the 21st Century. As a result, the school’s initiative is focused on three critical areas: distinction and diversity of students, faculty and academic leadership, and applied science, research and innovation.

With your support, the USC School of Social Work will continue to lead the good fight, advancing the understanding of social issues through research, promoting innovations in practice and producing graduates who bring both compassion and science in the search for solutions to human need.

Learn more about need for The USC Social Work Initiative in our case statement. Please also enjoy the inaugural issue of Partners, dedicated to celebrating the role of philanthropy in the progress of the school through inspiring stories of giving and a deep commitment to social work.

Join us as we make the world a better place.


  • First top-ranked Master of Social Work degree offered nationally
  • First to offer MSW with specialized concentrations
  • First to endow a center for scientific social work research
  • First large-scale military social work program
  • First to use evidence-based practice training in internships
  • First national field education placement network
  • First to develop the model of policy practice