Saiz helps city give back through support for nonprofits

Nancy Saiz, B.A. '98, MSSW '02
Grants Administrator, City of Madison Community Development Division

After taking an introductory social welfare course, Nancy Saiz discovered social work was a great career fit for her. She paired her social work education with cultural and linguistic skills, working as a social worker and interpreter in a variety of health and family service agencies. Saiz now works for the City of Madison Community Development Division, which supports over 50 nonprofit organizations around the city by funding community programs.


[After graduation,] I quickly noticed the huge need for bilingual and bicultural staff at different social service agencies.

What originally inspired you to become a social worker?

I took an Introduction to Social Welfare course taught by Professor Mark Courtney. After taking this course, I realized how much I wanted to be out in the community helping others. When I graduated with my B.A. in Social Welfare, Madison was seeing a growth in the Latino population that needed social services. I found work at Madison Community Health Centers, as the Social Service Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator and Spanish Interpreter. I quickly noticed the huge need for bilingual and bicultural staff at different social service agencies, as well as professionals who provided counseling services. Madison Community Health Centers had very limited resources and my work seemed like an overwhelming task at first. Many people did not qualify for services due to their immigration status, even though many individuals and families had low to no income.


Walk us through a typical day in the life at your job.

I manage contracts with nonprofit agencies. My day consists of reviewing service reports and maintaining relationships with program managers and neighborhood center directors. I also represent the City of Madison in numerous community outreach efforts. My direct practice experience allows me to have a realistic perspective of what individuals, families and agencies struggle with on a day-to-day basis.


How has your School of Social Work education prepared you for both your past jobs and your current job?

As a civil servant with a social welfare background, I have knowledge of social work theories and practice as they relate to service delivery and community engagement. This has allowed me to advocate for and continue to support social service nonprofit agencies that are not mandated by the state or county.


I also have the ability to look at Evidence-Based Practice Models critically and advocate for programs that get funded. I would not be able to do my job had it not been for my graduate studies at the UW-Madison School of Social Work.


Last edited by karnaky on Tuesday, February 03, 2015 | Printer Friendly Version