National Human Services Assembly

Human Service Sector History

History of the Human Service Sector

This is a brief history of the National Assembly and four important resources for those who want to take a deeper dive into the history of social welfare and human services, and its leading founders in the United States.


National Assembly History

The National Assembly was formed by leaders of social service agencies in the early 1920s to discuss and address common concerns. This is a detailed overview of the National Assembly’s 95+ year history.

Human Spirit Initiative

Human Spirit Initiative (HSI), created by Kay Horsch and developed by a crew of mostly volunteers, tells the stories of social entrepreneurs of the past century—the people who founded the movements that have become a part of the fabric of American society. HSI is now a part of the National Human Services Assembly. Visit the HSI Website.

Social Welfare History Project

Jack Hansen has assembled information from far and wide about the development of social welfare in America. Visit the site.

Social Welfare Archives

The libraries at the University of Minnesota holds the archives of the National Assembly, YMCA of the USA, National Urban League, and many other human service organizations. Visit the archives.

Extra Mile Pathway

The Extra Mile Pathway is a memorial in Washington, D.C. that recognizes people who have led important social movements in the U.S. The online site has information on the honorees.

Focused on Equity

Learn more about the National Assembly's commitment to meaningful equity and inclusion work in the human service sector.

Recent Policy Actions

See our most recent policy actions and advocacy efforts of the Washington Policy Council.