Mercy Corps’ Co-Founder Dan O’Neill To Retire

January 17, 2019

Humanitarian honored for his life’s work

PORTLAND, ORE – Mercy Corps co-founder Dan O’Neill has announced plans to retire 39 years after the organization’s genesis. Originally founded as Save the Refugees Fund in response to the Cambodian war and genocide, Mercy Corps is now a leading global organization powered by its founders’ vision that a better world is possible.

“I believe that if you connect people to the resources they need, they can strengthen their communities from within,” says Dan O’Neill. “Now more than ever we face tough challenges that can only be solved together, in partnership with communities and in service to them.”

In 1979, Dan O’Neill came to a crossroads that would change his life — and the lives of millions — forever. He watched from the U.S. as brutal genocide was unfolding in Cambodia. Overwhelmed with the horror and carnage in the headlines, he vowed to make a difference. In joining his commitment with that of the late Ellsworth Culver and other like-minded humanitarians, Mercy Corps was born.

“We could not have accomplished this work without the public’s support. Thanks to our donors we have provided $4 billion in lifesaving assistance to more than 220 million people over the last 39 years,” says O’Neill.

O’Neill, 70, traveled the world, especially in Mercy Corps’ early years, meeting political and religious leaders; observing Mercy Corps programs; and responding to natural disasters and humanitarian crises. His personal mission has led him to refugee camps in Lebanon, swamps in South Sudan, genocides in Africa and other critical locations.

“Dan is an incredible man and dear friend,” says Neal Keny-Guyer, Chief Executive Officer of Mercy Corps since 1994. “His passion and perseverance will always be reflected in the work we do, and we are grateful for his founding vision and lifelong dedication to Mercy Corps.

Since it was established, Mercy Corps has transformed the lives of tens of millions of people in more than 122 countries, helping children and families recover from some of the world’s biggest disasters and conflicts.

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