Dr. Naparstek was a national policy maker and an expert on urban redevelopment whose ideas for revitalizing neighborhoods served as models for policy on a local, national, and international level. He was appointed to the National Commission on Neighborhoods and the President’s Commission on Mental Health’s Task Panel by President Jimmy Carter. When Naparstek became Dean of the Case Western Reserve University School of Applied Social Sciences, he raised funds to expand the school into a new building which was then renamed the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. Under his administration, the Mandel School established the Intensive Semester program in Cleveland and 3 off-campus sites, established the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations, the Center for Urban Poverty and Social Change, and set the stage for the later establishment of the Center for Practice Innovations.
Dr. Naparstek established MSASS as the first school in the country to use 4A dollars for master’s training of income maintenance workers. In 1994, Naparstek was appointed to the Corporation for National Service by President Bill Clinton. He was also a senior associate for The Urban Institute, a think tank in Washington D.C., helping to launch another of his policy initiatives, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s public housing revitalization plan, HOPE VI.
Naparstek influenced communities through his involvement with Jewish organizations in Cleveland and Israel. While he served as co-chairman of the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland’s Partnership 2000 program, he applied his community-building skills to improve the economic base and sense of community for Cleveland’s Sister City, Beit She’an, in northern Israel, as well as generated several policy and program initiatives for newly arrived Ethiopian Jews. Over the course of his social work and academic career, Naparstek co-authored four books and co-wrote policy law with several legislative teams in Congress. He insisted on seeing community citizens as the necessary human capital needed to partner with for decision-making in order to achieve meaningful, impactful results. Essentially, he brought this concept to board tables, mayors' offices and state and federal legislators for implementation on the ground, which further refined future policy. He also published many articles about the importance of community-building and co-wrote a book on mental health in public policy.