U.S. Equity and Economic Opportunity Initiative/

Otis Rolley

Senior Vice President, U.S. Equity and Economic Opportunity Initiative, The Rockefeller Foundation

Otis Rolley joined The Rockefeller Foundation in 2019. Immediately prior to joining the Foundation, Otis served as a North America Managing Director for 100 Resilient Cities, an initiative of the Foundation. There he provided urban resilience technical assistance and portfolio management for 29 cities throughout the U.S. and Canada. Prior to his work at 100RC, Otis served as CEO of Newark, New Jersey’s economic development corporation.

A true urbanist, Otis’s career has been dedicated toward advancing economic and community development in cities, leading organizations in the for-profit and non-profit private sectors. His 20 years of experience also includes serving in various leadership positions in the public sector. He has held cabinet roles with 5 different mayors in three large U.S. cities. He has been a chief of staff managing a $2 billion budget; city planning director for America’s largest independent city; and he has served as the first deputy housing commissioner for the 5th largest public housing and community development agency in the U.S.

Otis has a Masters in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rutgers University.

Authored Content

  • Jul 21 2021
    Blog Post Investing in Financial Innovations to Narrow the Racial Wealth Gap What if you made it much easier for workers of color to become business owners, and thus build wealth much faster? What if you offered creative, revenue-based loans to underserved business owners to help them hire more workers and grow? This year alone, The Rockefeller Foundation’s Zero Gap Fund (ZGF) has invested in two enterprises […] Maria Kozloski, Otis Rolley
  • Jun 23 2021
    Blog Post Want More Equitable Vaccine Distribution? Make Better Use of Data Albert Einstein once famously said if he were given an hour to solve a problem, he’d spend 55 minutes understanding it, and then take just five minutes developing solutions. That formula makes total sense, and perhaps especially when considering a complex and tangled problem like inequity and healthcare. Translated narrowly for the U.S. vaccination effort, […] Otis Rolley
  • May 25 2021
    Blog Post One Year Since George Floyd’s Killing: A Look at Racial Trauma and the Wealth Gap It has been one year, and George Floyd’s heartbreaking final minutes on the paved city ground remain fresh on my mind. His gruesome and racist murder came as a global pandemic left us all already vulnerable and raw, and I was dealing with the sickness and stress it caused in my family and among my […] Otis Rolley
  • Apr 13 2021
    Blog Post Equitable Vaccine Distribution: A Sprint and A Marathon in One As any casual weekend jogger knows, sprinting while simultaneously running a marathon presents a challenge. A different pace, set of skills and mindset are required for a short, fast dash as compared with a longer haul. But in The Rockefeller Foundation’s work to contribute to equitable vaccine distribution in the U.S., that is exactly the […] Otis Rolley
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