Social Work Gift Benefits Social Justice Education
Central to social work is the ability to be an effective advocate for social justice, particularly in times of scarce resources. The newly created Fund for Advocacy, Leadership and Social Justice, developed with a gift from alumna Kate Pew Wolters (MSW, ’82), will allow the MSU School of Social Work to continue its leadership in defining, exploring, promoting and teaching concepts of social justice in the 21st century.
Effective advocacy is a central skill for all social workers and a significant emphasis in the MSU Master of Social Work program. At the same time, each graduate of the MSU School of Social Work should have his or her leadership qualities identified, deepened and expanded, explained Gary Anderson, director of the school.
“We have a tradition of preparing social workers for a variety of leadership roles—some very visible and some quietly effective,” Anderson noted. “The role of leadership in recruiting and retaining workers, and building organizations that can provide ethical and effective services is essential. This fund will support activities to advance leadership skills for our students and, through continuing education, for our alumni.”
The Fund for Advocacy, Leadership and Social Justice will promote advanced educational opportunities and broaden training, with the goal of equipping each student to be an effective advocate and leader. Specifically, the fund will support elective courses on advocacy and leadership, continuing education workshops, specialized field placements, guest lecturers for the school and broader community, as well as targeted research projects.
“Both advocacy and leadership are informed by and inspired by the value of social justice,” Anderson said. “Each of these qualities—advocacy, leadership and social justice—will be significantly advanced by the newly endowed fund and are central to our mission.”
“Kate is a wonderful example of a Spartan using her educational foundation to make a real difference in our society,” noted Marietta Baba, dean of the College of Social Science. “Her generosity will create collaboration opportunities with other disciplines and enhance advocacy, leadership and social justice exploration at Michigan State University for years to come.”
Kate Pew Wolters has long been a role model for her commitment to public service and for her business leadership. After completing her master’s at MSU, she took a position as a staff social worker at Steelcase Inc., later becoming executive director of the Steelcase Foundation, a foundation particularly concerned with helping individuals who are disadvantaged or disabled as they try to improve their lives. Former President Bill Clinton appointed Pew Wolters to the National Council on Disability on which she served for nine years, eight of them as vice president of the council. She has received many honors for her outstanding leadership, including the College of Social Science Outstanding Alumni Award (1991), the MSUAA Distinguished Alumni Award (1994), and her selection in 2007 to receive an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from MSU. Pew Wolters is on the Grand Valley State University Board of Trustees, and has served on numerous boards and foundations, including the MSU Foundation.
For more information about making a gift to the School of Social Work, contact College of Social Science Senior Director of Development Sarah Blom at (517) 432-1802.