Ellen O’Neill
Year
2019
Chapter
Position
City of St. Louis, Treasurer's Office, Children's Savings Account Coordinator

Ellen O’Neill is the Children’s Savings Account Coordinator for the City of St. Louis Treasurer’s Office. College Kids is an automatic enrollment, universal savings account program for all kindergarten, first, second, and third graders in the City of St. Louis. Every account is opened with a $50 deposit funded by city parking revenue. College Kids offers various additional incentives to help students grow their accounts. Incentives include a dollar for dollar match on the first $100 deposited per school year, $1 deposited for every week of perfect attendance, and $5 for participating in financial education courses. To date, there are over 12,000 students enrolled in the College Kids program with over $800,000 saved thus far.

Prior to her position at the City Treasurer’s Office, Ellen worked for the Center for Social Development (CSD) at Washington University in St. Louis. While at CSD, Ellen was the Project Manager for the Refund to Savings (R2S) Initiative, a large-scale, multi-year research project conducted by social work and economics researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, Duke University, and tax industry leaders at Intuit, Inc. R2S embedded behavioral economics techniques in TurboTax Freedom Edition to encourage improved financial outcomes tax time.

Ellen received her Master of Social Work degree in 2017 from the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. During her time at the Brown School, Ellen studied Domestic Social and Economic Development with a specialization in policy. Ellen served on the Community Development Policy team at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis during graduate school, where she devised and conducted a study of underserved and unbanked communities. This study applied techniques from Community-Based System Dynamics to convenings of key stakeholders across the seven states in the Federal Reserve’s District. Findings discussed the determinates of financial well-being and decision-making of unbanked or underserved communities.

Additionally, Ellen serves on the St. Louis International Institute Young Friends Board, the Campaign for Every Kids Future National Steering Committee, and the St. Louis Child Development Account Leadership Committee. Ellen holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Service Studies from Elon University in North Carolina.