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Alumna sees first-hand how School influences the social work profession

By Susan White

As a graduate of UNC’s School of Social Work, Holly Bowles Blanton, MSW ’77, has long been a supporter of the graduate program. But as a current member of the School’s Board of Advisors, Blanton has also committed time and energy to advocate on the School’s behalf.

“We all know that the School of Social Work educates social workers who then go out to help to make the world a better place,” said Blanton, who received the School of Social Work’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2007. “So, if I can help somebody realize just how valuable a program this is and how it affects a lot of individuals across the country, then I’m happy to do that.”

After more than 30 years in social work practice, including at various nonprofits focused on family violence prevention, Blanton has seen first-hand how the School influences the professional field. UNC social work research continues to be instrumental in keeping public and private agencies in North Carolina up-to-date on the latest evidence-based practices, especially around programs with proven results, she noted.

“The School is really helping to educate all of the agencies that are out there,” she said. “The research that faculty members are doing to change policy or so that social workers in communities can have the best knowledge available about the best practices in the field is just invaluable.”

Such information also helps ensure that grantors are funding programs that work, she added.

Blanton views her advocacy of the School of Social Work for similar reasons — the program has a history of success.

“I give back to my School because students, faculty, and staff are making such a tremendous difference,” she said. “They deserve our support.”

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For more information about fundraising priorities and the impact of private giving at the School of Social Work, please contact: Mary Beth Hernandez, Associate Dean for Advancement,