Thanks for Your Support! A Letter from Sarah Rajala, Vice President for Development, IEEE Foundation

As we close out the first quarter of 2022, I want to take a moment to reflect on your generosity in 2021. As a member of the 2021 IEEE Life Members Committee (LMC), I was able to see the impact of your support first hand.

Thanks to the generosity of you and your fellow Life Members in 2021, countless lives around the world have been transformed for the better! This is all because Life Members, like you, took the simple action to donate in support of the IEEE Life Members Fund and IEEE Foundation. Whether you gave US$1 (our smallest contribution) or any amount, you are an integral part of our success story.

It shouldn’t surprise you that IEEE Life Members are the most generous collection of Members within IEEE. In 2021, more than 4,400 Life Members donated to one or more of the IEEE Foundation Funds. This represents more than 11% of Life Members who donated. Cumulatively, IEEE Life Members gave more than all other membership groups combined! Being a part of this generous group makes me even more proud to be an IEEE Life Member.

The work of the IEEE LMC, which benefits IEEE Life Members around the world, is funded by donations to the IEEE Life Members Fund. In 2021, more than 3,800 donors gave more than US$239,000 to support activities of interest to IEEE Life Members. If you are one of these donors, thank you for your support!

What have these donations enabled? The full impact is difficult to quantify, but here are a few specific examples:

  • Supported the activities of the LMC’s 38,000 Members through 335 local IEEE volunteer groups. More than 600 Life Member Affinity Group activities were reported in 2021.
  • Launched the Life Fellows Oral History Project, the largest oral history project by the IEEE History Center. During 2021, 50 volunteers were trained and 152 subjects were identified. Almost 30 oral histories were recorded and eight have been published on the IEEE History Center’s Engineering and Technology History Wiki (ETHW).
  • Awarded two fellowships—the IEEE Life Member History Fellowship and the IEEE Life Members Graduate Study Fellowship in Electrical Engineering.
  • Supported the IEEE James H. Mulligan Jr. Education Medal, which recognizes a career of outstanding contributions to education.
  • Provided funding to programs and events, such as:
    • the IEEE-USA MOVE truck
    • IEEE Rising Stars Conference
    • IEEE Conference on Technologies for Sustainability (SusTech) student event
    • Student Engineering Team Challenge.

All of this is possible thanks to the support of IEEE Life Members like you. There are many ways you can contribute and allow this list to grow:

  • IEEE Membership Renewal – As you renew your IEEE Membership, you can select the IEEE Life Members Fund as an option on the drop-down menu. The LMC December 2021 Newsletter included an envelope for mailing donations conveniently.
  • Online Donations (Including Recurring Giving) – Donating Online is one of the quickest and most effective ways of making a difference. Donations to the IEEE Life Members Fund can be made via the IEEE Foundation secure online giving page.
  • Individual Retirement Accounts – For U.S. citizens, the IRA Charitable Rollover allows individual retirement account holders age 70 ½ and older to make qualified charitable distributions (QCD) up to US$100,000 per year (and up to US$200,000 per year for married couples) from their IRA to the IEEE Foundation without having to count the transfers as income for federal tax purposes. Since no tax is incurred on the withdrawal, gifts do not qualify for an income tax charitable deduction, but are eligible to be counted toward an individual’s minimum required distribution beginning at age 72. The IEEE Life Members Fund is eligible to receive these distributions.
  • Cash Prize Gifts – If you are receiving payment in exchange for a speaking engagement or in recognition of an award, you may elect to donate your honorarium (cash prize or fee) to the IEEE Life Members Fund.

MOVE and Reach Programs Continue to Grow

The Foundation celebrated the IEEE-USA Mobile Outreach Vehicle (MOVE)’s  fifth anniversary in 2021 by receiving a second vehicle, which was donated by Cisco Systems. The two trucks combined for four deployments spanning nearly 100 days assisting victims of natural disasters in Louisiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee, by providing short-term communications infrastructure, computer, and power solutions. There are plans to extend the program outside the United States going forward.

Social studies and STEM pre-university educators from around the world were equipped with the knowledge to leverage the free IEEE REACH lesson plans, videos and hands-on activities to elevate their students’ technological literacy. More than 13,000 users from 160 countries accessed the REACH website during 2021, representing a 15% increase from 2020.

Sarah Rajala
Vice President for Development, IEEE Foundation