Kevin O’Neil is Managing 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.
Feb 16 2023Blog Post Developing Country Voices and the Global Climate Agenda: Unlocking Lessons for Action One of the most important messages from last year’s COP27 global climate summit was voiced by leaders from emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs). They made it clear that time was a luxury their countries did not have. Climate change was affecting their people now, they said, and global action to respond to the issues […] Kevin O'Neil, Nicole Rasul Jul 22 2021Blog Post Co-developing Digital Public Infrastructure for an Equitable Recovery As Covid-19 spread across the world last year, its impacts were fast and society-wide, ravaging health and livelihoods alike. The question quickly became: How can our societies respond with equivalent speed, scale, and breadth? Digital systems played a key role in this response. Sri Lanka, for example, built and deployed a real-time Covid-19 screening, contact […] Kevin O'Neil, Liv Marte Nordhaug Mar 03 2021Blog Post Designing Technology for Easier, More Equitable Access to the Safety Net When people look for help from safety net programs, they are often at a low point. That the process for receiving legally mandated aid should so often be bewildering and, even more, humiliating, is a reality that I find personally wrenching—and that I believe should outrage us all. This is part of why The Rockefeller […] Kevin O'Neil 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