Five Ways the IEEE Foundation Plans to Encourage More Giving

Its new president shares his goals for IEEE’s philanthropic arm

14 February 2017

Even though companies and members gave approximately US $3.8 million last year in donations to the IEEE Foundation, the organization’s philanthropic arm, its new president, John R. Treichler, wants to take the Foundation to even greater heights.

“There is much opportunity to do good.” Treichler says. “The Foundation recognizes that, and we’re working hard to help IEEE do something about it.”

The money the Foundation raises supports educational and humanitarian technology programs around the world.

An IEEE Life Fellow, Treichler is the CTO of Raytheon Applied Signal Technology, headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif. He has been a member of the IEEE Foundation board since 2013 and an IEEE member since 1970.

What are your priorities for the organization?

The IEEE Foundation is on its way to becoming a major philanthropy. Leah Jamieson, who served as the Foundation’s president from 2012 to 2016, along with the Foundation’s board and its ​dedicated staff members, have set the stage. Now it’s my job to make its vision a reality. My main objectives are:

  • Raise awareness of the Foundation and its mission among the IEEE membership and the outside world.
  • Nurture a culture of philanthropy among IEEE members and IEEE organizational units.
  • Strengthen the Foundation’s relationship with the rest of IEEE, since our programs are intended to transform the organization’s vision into reality.
  • Become more effective as a philanthropic organization, building a fund-raising organization capable of turning the IEEE’s forward-looking vision into informed donor contributions.
  • Ensure the IEEE programs funded by donors are achieving the desired impact.

Why did you become involved with the Foundation?

For many years, my wife, who is also an electrical engineer, and I have given money to the IEEE History Center to help support its efforts to document electrical engineering’s past and to educate the public about its impact. Helping the History Center introduced me to the Foundation, which supports some of its work. I was asked four years ago to join the Foundation’s board—and honestly, at the time I knew very little about it. Since then I’ve discovered that it is a hidden gem within IEEE.

How has the Foundation changed since you joined its board?

When I joined the board in 2013, a wave of change was under way. Historically the Foundation had mainly been responsible for overseeing the money set aside for IEEE medals and awards and for the operation of its grants program. Under Leah’s leadership, the Foundation has redefined itself to take on larger programs.

Those programs, now called priority initiatives, support IEEE’s mission of advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. They include IEEE Smart Village, EPICS in IEEE (Engineering Projects in Community Service in IEEE), the IEEE Power & Energy Society Scholarship Plus Initiative, and REACH (Raising Engineering Awareness Through the Conduit of History).

Leah and her team turned the rudder of the ship, so to speak, and now the Foundation board members and I must keep the philanthropy steady on its new course.

What would you like to see the Foundation accomplish in the next five years?

The beauty of a vision as broad as “advancing technology for the benefit of humanity” is that it provides IEEE, its members, and the Foundation’s donors a variety of ways to promote that vision—including honoring the accomplishments of members, supporting the education of a new generation of engineers, and educating nontechnical people about engineering and its contributions to their lives. And, where possible, IEEE should make humanitarian technology investments in other parts of the world where our ideas, skills, and resources can make a real and sustained difference in people’s lives.

The Foundation is preparing to launch a campaign called Realizing the Full Potential of IEEE. We will all have a role to play in the campaign, and I look forward to sharing more exciting details in the coming months.

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