Dan O'Neill, Founder

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Dan O'Neill has committed his life to international service since 1972.

As a volunteer for a faith-based non-governmental organization (NGO) in Africa, Europe and the Middle East, he encountered oppression, extreme poverty, famine and wars which he documented in photos, articles and journals.

In 1979, Dan co-founded Save the Refugees Fund, an emergency relief task force assisting Cambodian refugees following the infamous "Killing Fields" catastrophe. In 1980, he attended White House Cambodia Crisis Committee events at the request of then-First Lady Rosalynn Carter, who has continued to lend her support and encouragement over three decades.

In 1981, Dan incorporated Mercy Corps with a mission to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people to build just, secure and productive communities.

Since then, the global aid agency has generated billions of dollars in humanitarian assistance in more than 100 countries, assisting children and families with cost-efficient, high-impact relief and development programs through a broad range of services and innovative strategies.

Dan has traveled the world meeting many political and religious leaders, observing Mercy Corps programs and witnessing natural disasters, political upheaval, war, famine and other humanitarian crises. He has been a White House guest during the Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton administrations, and has appeared on CNN, the BBC and many other national and local TV and radio networks. O'Neill has authored numerous books, articles and opinion pieces.

Dan was born in Olympia, Washington, in 1948. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Washington and in 2008 was named among its top 100 graduates. He has received honorary doctorates from Warner Pacific College (2004), Willamette University (2007) and the University of Portland (2009).

Dan received the Mother Teresa Award in 2006. Most recently, he was honored with the Seattle World Affairs Council’s 2014 World Citizen Award, following such recipients as Governor Christine Gregoire, Governor Gary Locke and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Fareed Zakaria, host of CNN’s “GPS”, stated at Mercy Corps' 2013 Board dinner that the best thing Dan O’Neill has done for the world, and himself, was to start Mercy Corps.

Dan and his wife, Cherry, reside in Sammamish, WA and are the parents of five grown children.

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