Efficient and low-cost electrocatalysts for oxygen evolution reaction (OER), particularly in neutral conditions, are of significant importance for renewable energy technologies such as CO2 reduction and seawater splitting electrolysis. High-valent transition-metal sites have been considered as OER active sites; however, the rational design and construction of these sites remain a big challenge. Here, we report a trimetallic NiFeCu oxyhydroxide electrocatalyst, in which high-valent Ni sites are promoted and stabilized by the atomically embedded Cu, as evidenced by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and X-ray absorption spectroscopy. Through compositional optimization, Ni6Fe1Cu1 catalysts achieved an overpotential of 385 mV at 10 mA cm(-2), a Tafel slope of 164 mV dec(-1), and a stability of 100 h at pH = 7.2. Density function theory calculations demonstrated that the Cu-doping facilitates the formation of high-valent Ni and thus promotes OER electrocatalysis through modulating the d-band center of Ni and reducing the adsorption energy of oxygenated intermediates on the surface of the catalyst. This work paves a promising avenue for the construction of desired high-valent metal OER catalysts by embedding redox inactive metals.