IEEE Foundation Day Marks a Half Century of Philanthropy

In honor of the IEEE Foundation’s 50th anniversary, 16 February has been established as IEEE Foundation Day—a Celebration of the Heart. The theme reflects the Foundation’s vision of being the heart of IEEE’s charitable giving and philanthropy.

On 16 February 1973, IEEE launched its philanthropic partner. The Foundation, initially established to accept and manage donations in support of the IEEE Awards Program, since has raised over US $135 million for more than 250 IEEE programs that improve access to technology, enhance technological literacy, and support education.

For over 50 years, that first seed has been watered with members’ passion, values, and care. The Foundation’s work has blossomed into meaningful, real-world impact.

IEEE Foundation Day recognizes the donors and volunteers who make IEEE philanthropic programs possible, as well as their beneficiaries whose lives have been transformed.

The event is a tremendous opportunity for the IEEE community to celebrate the significant achievements enabled by the generous support of IEEE volunteers and donors.

Volunteers, donors, and beneficiaries who would like to share how the IEEE Foundation has impacted them can do so on its Kudoboard. I invite you to join me in sharing your story.

Supporting IEEE programs

Outstanding impacts have been made across all five of the Foundation’s focus areas, or pillars, where contributions are directed. The pillars are illuminate, educate, engage, energize, and future.

Generous donors support these current programs:

Illuminate.IEEE Smart Village supports business-development projects that integrate renewable energy, educational opportunities, and entrepreneurship development to empower energy-impoverished communities around the world. The projects, tailored to meet the needs of each community, leverage the power of technology to make a positive impact with the help of local organizations and dedicated volunteers. With nearly 200 projects established across sub-Saharan Africa, India, Latin America, and Southeast Asia, IEEE Smart Village has benefited more than 1.4 million people.

Educate.IEEE TryEngineering provides educators, preuniversity students, and volunteers with activities, lesson plans, and other resources to help engage and inspire the next generation of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics professionals. Last year its STEM Grant Program provided financial support to 43 initiatives that provide educational opportunities and hands-on experiences to preuniversity students in underserved communities worldwide.

Engage. The IEEE History Center was one of the earliest programs to partner with the IEEE Foundation. The center, which was set up in preparation to celebrate IEEE’s centennial in 1984, preserves and promotes the history of technology, the engineering profession, and IEEE.

Last year it piloted an exhibit as part of the new IEEE Global Museum initiative, which brings museum-quality exhibits to IEEE members and the public at IEEE events. The exhibit centered around Edwin H. Armstrong, the first IEEE Medal of Honor recipient.

Energize.IEEE Eta-Kappa Nu (IEEE-HKN) has received Foundation support since it merged with IEEE in 2010. Last year IEEE’s honor society increased the number of student chapter support grants approved by 200 percent over the previous year. The achievement has allowed chapters worldwide to enhance their IEEE-HKN experience and serve the communities around them.

Future.IEEE Women In Engineering is a global network dedicated to promoting female engineers and scientists, and to inspiring girls to pursue careers in STEM. Last year IEEE WIE established its Family Cares grant program, which provides financial support to people of any gender who care for family members so they can attend IEEE conferences.

The future of the IEEE Foundation

I am thrilled to celebrate 50 years of the IEEE Foundation and the immense impact philanthropic support has had on shaping the world through technological advancement. It’s humbling to see how the generosity of our donors has fueled IEEE programs that improve lives.

As we move forward, the IEEE Foundation is excited to work together to attract new donors, forge more partnerships with IEEE programs and societies, and support more transformative initiatives.

The future holds incredible possibilities for technology to improve lives. With the Foundation playing a pivotal role, I am optimistic about harnessing the power of philanthropy to shape a more sustainable, equitable, and technological future for all.

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