Kevin O’Neil is Director of Data and Technology at The Rockefeller Foundation, where he leads the Foundation’s work on digital public goods, government use of technology, and frontier topics. Kevin previously led a Rockefeller Foundation team that researched and developed new Foundation initiatives and provided evidence for major strategic decisions across the Foundation’s portfolio.
Kevin has been a research fellow at the University of Cape Town, a fellow of the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, and a policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, and served as a firefighter on four continents. He holds a PhD in Population Science and Public Affairs from Princeton University and a BA in Economics from Swarthmore College.
Jan 13 2021Innovation Accessing the Safety Net in the United States: Lessons from Covid-19, Looking Toward the Future The social safety net is only effective if people can access it easily and when they need it. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, an estimated $65 billion in safety net benefits went unused by families each year that needed them in the United States. Covid-19 and its resulting disruptions have tested the capacity of states […] Jun 12 2020Blog Post A Big Day for Inclusive Finance — and for Digital Public Goods Around the world, 1.7 billion adults don’t have a bank account. Many more have an account but pay significant fractions of their income to do basic transactions, wait days for transactions to clear, or can’t easily access their money. The Covid-19 crisis has made the need for financial inclusion even more clear. As the world […] Kevin O'Neil, Lin Gao Mar 27 2020Blog Post For Social Services, Operating Digitally Is Critical to COVID-19 Resilience Over three million workers filed new claims for unemployment insurance in the United States this past week, representing a record-breaking surge in economic need as the COVID-19 pandemic forced families into seclusion. Even as the need grew, the pandemic forced government and private social services to close their offices, disrupting the normal channels people use […] Durva Trivedi, Kevin O'Neil Dec 18 2019Blog Post Fighting poverty by modernizing the tax filing system The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is one of the most effective ways of combatting poverty and inequality in the United States. The EITC supplements the earnings of low-income workers, especially for those supporting children. Last year over 25 million Americans tax filers received an average EITC of about $2,500 according to the IRS. For […] Chukwudi Onike, Kevin O'Neil Dec 10 2019Blog Post Unlocking the Power of Open Source for Government Digital goods — a video, a song, a book, a network configuration, etc. — can be duplicated an unlimited number of times at near-zero marginal cost. This is what economists call “non-rivalry.” A digital good need only be created once, and every subsequent sale brings nearly pure profit. Non-rivalry has led to some previously unimaginable […] Durva Trivedi, Kevin O'Neil