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Alexander, Chauncey A.

Abstract and Keywords

Chauncey A. Alexander (1916–2005) was Executive Director of the National Association of Social Workers from 1967 to 1982 and founder and president of the First Amendment Foundation. He was instrumental in developing an International Code of Ethics for social workers.

Keywords: insurance programs, psychiatric social work, civil rights, First Amendment Foundation, social change, Code of Ethics

Chauncey Alexander served for fifteen years as Executive Director of the National Association of Social Workers (1967–1982), bringing to that organization creative, dedicated, activist and democratic management, which led to its growth and influence as a major social work organization. As director, he developed licensing and insurance programs for members, and worked for social change promoting ELAN (Education League Action Network, and PACE (Political Action for Candidate Election). He modeled activist social work leadership on local, national, and international landscapes, for a time serving as president of the International Federation of Social Workers. He was instrumental in developing an International Code of Ethics

Following graduation from the University of Southern California School of Social Work in 1943, his career included positions with the L.A. State Relief Administration, psychiatric social work at a state mental hospital, and work with returning GIs following World War II, at the Veterans Service Center. He became director of the Southern California Society of Mental Hygiene (1950–1954). He directed the Los Angeles Heart Association, building an organization with 60,000 volunteers (1955–1967). From his next position as Associate Director of the Regional Medical Programs at UCLA, he went to NASW.

His community service contributions are legion and have been recognized by many organizations. His work for civil rights was highlighted by his founding and presidency of the First Amendment Foundation, and founding and chairing the Health Care Council of Orange County, California. His numerous honors included being named “A Social Work Icon” by the California Social Work Hall of Distinction. He wrote numerous social work and management articles and co-authored a book with his wife Sally.

Following his retirement from NASW, Alexander taught in the Department of Social Work at California State University in Long Beach until shortly before his death.