Tamara O'Neil

Vice President and Chief Development Officer
Tamara O'Neil

Tamara (Tam) O’Neil is vice president and chief development officer at Brookings. O’Neil is a results-driven development executive with close to 20 years of leadership and fundraising experience in the political, non-profit, and higher education sectors. Having raised millions of dollars for nonprofit organizations, she is one of the top fundraising experts in her field, with a proven track record of creating successful fundraisings programs and stewardship plans. Her areas of expertise include major gifts, board development, leadership annual giving, political fundraising, capital and comprehensive campaigns, stewardship, events, and strategic development.

O’Neil most recently served as chief development officer of the PenFed Foundation where she led her team to increase revenue by 400%, won the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s “Non-Profit of the Year” Award, and created a successful capital raise strategy for the Bravo Fund, a ground-breaking veteran entrepreneurial investment fund. At the PenFed Foundation, she also developed the Afghan Rescue and Resettlement Program which formed a partnership with American female service members and veterans to successfully resettle 50 female Afghan special operations forces members and their families into the United States.

Prior to her role at the PenFed Foundation, O’Neil served as the national executive director of individual and principal gifts for the American Red Cross. In this role she served as an executive leader for seven divisions, 58 regions, and over 400 fundraising staff. She oversaw ongoing program development, evaluation, and management of all annual individual major gifts to the organization. During her tenure, O’Neil led her team to raise over 500 million for life-saving programs including disaster relief and service to the armed forces. O’Neil also oversaw the Red Cross’s two main fundraising boards: the National Philanthropic Board and the Tiffany Circle National Council.

Before joining the Red Cross, O’Neil spent seven years at the George Washington University where she led a successful team of front-line fundraisers and served on the executive planning committee for the university’s first billion-dollar campaign. Prior to her role at GWU, O’Neil worked in political fundraising to increase female representation in government.

O’Neil received a bachelor’s degree in political science with a focus in public policy and a MPS in legislative affairs from the George Washington University, and has served as a guest lecturer in fundraising and board development at GWU’s Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration. She lives in the Washington, D.C., area with her husband and two daughters.

  • Past Positions

    • Chief Development Officer, PenFed Foundation
    • National Executive Director of Individual and Principal Gifts, American Red Cross
    • Fundraising and Executive Planning, George Washington University
  • Education

    • M.P.S., Legislative Affairs, George Washington University
    • B.A., Political Science, George Washington University