Our
Foundation

Inspiring the Future

2019 Donor Profiles

  
Charif Amirat

Charif Amirat
MEMBER GRADE: Senior Member
Pursuing His Interests and Making A Difference


As Chief Information Officer at IEEE, Dr. Cherif Amirat has proven that he isn’t just a valued member of the professional team, but a loyal member and donor as well.

“I first joined IEEE when I was a Ph.D. student and that helped me access published research and in turn publish my own papers,” Cherif said. “As a professional, I got to see and appreciate the IEEE mission of fostering technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity, which resonates with what I value. IEEE is beyond staying current with technology, professional networking and career advancements — it truly impacts how technology evolves and serves humanity.”

Over the years, Cherif has donated to many IEEE initiatives and has enjoyed the opportunity to learn about each one along the way. “The IEEE Foundation drives so many valuable and impactful initiatives and programs and I support a different one each year,” he explained. “For 2019, I donated to the History Center; after having a chance to visit the center and learn more about the work they do, including the Milestones program, I wanted to contribute to their mission.”

In addition to donating through IEEE’s ‘employee giving’ payroll mechanism, Cherif has also capitalized on matching programs offered by former employers to make his donations go even farther. Since retiring from Pfizer Inc., for example, “they match 50% of all of my charitable contributions and I take full advantage of this benefit,” he said.

Overall, Cherif can’t say enough about the importance of contributing to IEEE. “No matter your interest, you’ll find an IEEE initiative that will match it,” he said. “I encourage others to get involved to make a difference.”

Scott Atkinson

Scott Atkinson
MEMBER GRADE: Life Senior Member
Sharing Capital to Serve Humanity


Over 50 years ago, “a professor from the University of Houston invited me to an IEEE meeting and the rest was history,” said Scott Atkinson. “Almost immediately, I began volunteering in my IEEE Communications Society Chapter and the IEEE Houston Section. Those events led me to continue volunteering and gradually take on additional roles with conferences at the Society level,” said Scott, who was recently nominated to be Life Members Committee Chair for 2020. “Needless to say, the IEEE has been my professional association and a very important part of my career and I can credit my success directly to my membership.”

“Over many years, I’ve donated to the IEEE Foundation and a few of my societies,” Scott continued. “Since becoming a Life Member, I’ve donated to the Life Members Fund and have included the IEEE Foundation in my estate plans.”

“I know that I won’t live forever and have a sense that I need to be a part of the solution of humanity,” Scott said of his desire to give back to the organization that’s played such a significant role in his life and career. “I feel that I should plant a tree under which I shall never sit and believe that we all need to support the cause of helping humanity. I hope that the example I set will rub off on others so that they can see the benefit of sharing some of their capital to support the goals of serving humanity.”

Jane Cullum

Jane Cullum
MEMBER GRADE: Life Fellow
Impacting Populations Worldwide


“IEEE membership has presented me with many interesting opportunities to participate in the organization,” shared Jane Cullum, whose membership in the IEEE Control Systems Society (CSS) since the late 1970s led her to speak at conferences worldwide.

Most recently, Jane has been inspired by the IEEE Smart Village (ISV) initiative. “IEEE Smart Village is focused on humanitarian projects in places around the world where the opportunities we enjoy aren’t available to the people living there,” she explained.

Among the many humanitarian projects that have captivated her was a successful effort to bring electricity to a remote Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the Indian Himalayas with LED lights using solar direct-current microgrids several years ago. Completed by leader Paras Loomba and a large group of volunteers, Jane confirmed that the project did more than simply provide ‘Lights for the Enlightened.’ “The IEEE team also trained local residents to maintain the solar components, set up internet access in that area, and developed an economic method to attract investors and enhance tourism,” she said.

“This was and is a fantastic project and IEEE has established many other fantastic projects in different places too -- projects which need money and qualified people to make them work,” Jane said. In response, she recently donated to the IEEE Smart Village Fund and encourages others to become involved in IEEE Foundation projects.

“Through the passion of co-founder Ray Larsen and others,” Jane confirmed, “IEEE Smart Village has grown from just a start-up to a significant initiative bringing invaluable infrastructure and training that will provide children and adults in underserved areas around the world with the tools to capitalize on and sustain exciting new opportunities.”

Bob Dent

Bob Dent
MEMBER GRADE: Life Senior Member
Honoring the “Constant” in His Life


An active IEEE member and volunteer since his college days at Stevens Institute of Technology over 50 years ago, Bob Dent describes IEEE as “a source of education, networking and social events and one of the constants in my life.”

After joining the IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology (SSIT) in the mid-1990s to further explore the effects of technology on humanity, Bob took on successive leadership roles, including presidency of the Power & Energy Society (PES) in 1996-1997 and presidency of SSIT for 2019-20.

The IEEE Smart Village initiative caught Bob’s attention as soon as he learned of it. “Bringing electricity, education, and entrepreneurship to remote areas around the globe is a very noble aim and I financially support this signature program because it brings technology to very needed uses,” he said.

Bob also supports the IEEE History Center and Eta Kappa Nu as well as the IEEE Foundation’s ‘Raising Engineering Awareness through the Conduit of History’ (REACH) program. According to Bob, “this signature program helps young people understand basic principles behind the technology that’s entered our lives and how that technology developed.”

In terms of his preferred donation mechanism, “the recurring gifts method eliminates my need to remember to donate each month and also allows me to have a reduced amount per month rather than one single large amount,” he said. “The IEEE Foundation acknowledges my contributions and I can track them through ‘My Account’ on the Foundation website.”

For anyone unsure of where to direct their IEEE donation, “simply donate to the Foundation Fund or ‘where the need is the greatest,’” Bob advised. “The IEEE Foundation staff is very competent and capable and will invest your donation wisely.”

Dan Estes

Dan Estes
MEMBER GRADE: Member
Helping to Make the World a Better Place


According to longtime IEEE Member Dan Estes, “IEEE has been a constant source of knowledge, professional connections and long-term friendships since my college days in the 1980s.”

Over the past two decades, as he saw the possibilities that solar power and distributed power production could bring to remote communities globally, Dan found the IEEE Smart Village initiative particularly inspiring. “When IEEE Smart Village launched, I wanted to contribute my experiences to the team and be a part of something larger than myself,” he explained. “While my personal and financial support is a small part of the Smart Village success story, it gives me great pride to see firsthand the villages around the world that we’re helping in very tangible ways.”

Most recently, Dan has opted to donate to IEEE annually on ‘GivingTuesday,’ a global day of generosity. “GivingTuesday is right in the middle of the Thanksgiving/Christmas season, where I’m reminded of how blessed my family is,” Dan said. “I’m very much aware that living in America -- where we have wonderful shops, way too much food, great houses, strong roadway, power, and telecommunications infrastructure and access to educational opportunities on just about any subject -- is a privilege. On that day, I feel the pull on my heartstrings to help others.”

“It’s a good thing to be part of an organization that uses its talents to help make the world a better place,” Dan confirmed. “By pooling our resources together under the IEEE Foundation’s umbrella, we can accomplish more as a group than any one person could as an individual. If every IEEE member would donate just a few dollars per month, the Foundation would have more to put towards its mission of advancing technology to help humanity.”

Jill Gosten

Jill Gosten
MEMBER GRADE: Senior Member
Sees IEEE as “a Place of Opportunity”


A longtime IEEE member, Jill took a hiatus for a few years but returned with zeal over a decade ago. “I became an IEEE volunteer at the local level and soon moved into higher-level positions, serving on the Board of Governors of the Computer Society, the Administrative Committee of the Sensors Council as well as in assorted committee positions across Member and Geographic Activities (MGA) and Technical Activities (TA),” said Jill, who credits her IEEE leadership experiences with helping her to reach her current position as Principal Research Scientist, Sensors and Electromagnetic Applications Lab at Georgia Tech Research Institute.

“To me, IEEE is a place of opportunity -- a place to gain experience and training in leadership, work for the betterment of humanity via efforts such as the IEEE-USA Mobile Outreach Vehicle (MOVE) and projects run by the Humanitarian Activities Committee and help younger people (from K-12 through young professionals) understand the impact they can have through a career in STEM,” she said.

Having served as the Volunteer/Team Development Chair for MOVE, “I had the opportunity to see the number of IEEE members who wanted to be involved and witness their excitement over the visibility and impact MOVE is having,” she said. “I donate to the MOVE initiative and other IEEE humanitarian efforts because I’m proud of IEEE for using and advancing technology to make a positive impact on our world.”

“Winston Churchill once said that ‘we make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give,’ and I believe that wholeheartedly,” Jill said. “Whether you give financially or volunteer some portion of your time to IEEE, I believe your life experience will be greatly enriched because of your giving.”

Hulya Kirkici

Hulya Kirkici
MEMBER GRADE: Fellow
Recognizing Student Achievement Through a New IEEE-HKN Award


Hulya Kirkici is an IEEE Fellow, IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu (HKN) Xi Chapter, and an officer of IEEE recently serving as the 2019 Vice President, Publications Services and Products. She’s also the founder of an important new award designed to recognize technical achievement by IEEE-HKN students.

In search of a worthy target for proceeds of a non-profit initiative called the Power Modulator Conference, Hulya approached the IEEE Foundation to discuss ways to put it to good use in recognizing technical achievement by students within IEEE Region 3. Working with IEEE-HKN, the IEEE honor society, Hulya donated the proceeds to the IEEE-HKN Power Modulator Fund in 2019 and created a new award called the ‘IEEE-HKN Best Technical Conference Student Paper Award’ at IEEE Southeastcon. Scheduled to be presented for the first time during the 2020 IEEE Southeastcon in Raleigh, NC, USA, the new award will recognize the best student paper presented at the technical conference portion of Southeastcon, IEEE Region 3’s major annual event.

“I’m proud to invest in IEEE,” Hulya said, “and hope that this new award will help enable IEEE-HKN to nurture the next generation of technology leaders for years to come.”

Nihal Kularatna

Nihal Kularatna
MEMBER GRADE: Senior Member
Honoring a Fellow Member and Future Generations


After meeting many global IEEE members early in his career as an engineering professional in Sri Lanka, Nihal Kularatna felt energized. “All of these encounters inspired me to work closely with IEEE and to be an active volunteer,” he said. That desire only deepened as he became an Associate Professor at the University of Waikato in New Zealand and met IEEE Fellow Dr. Asad Madni at the IEEE Sensors Conference in 2005.

“My association with Dr. Madni as an IEEE Fellow and friend enabled me to focus my technical writing within my 6th-9th books to help professional engineers fill the gap between academia and the industry,” Nihal shared. “When I was informed of the award established by IEEE-HKN to honor Dr. Madni -- the ‘IEEE-HKN Asad M. Madni Outstanding Technical Achievement and Excellence Award’ -- I felt immediately that completing my 10th book would be a good opportunity to support his generous gesture and set an example for other IEEE members.”

Nihal elected to donate 20% of his 65% share of the royalties from his upcoming book (Energy Storage Devices for Electrical Systems, Second Edition) to the aforementioned initiative, and his publisher was more than happy to help facilitate this arrangement. According to Nihal, “40% of this book’s content is based on our innovative supercapacitor-assisted (SCA) techniques, culminating in several international patents and successful commercialization, and truly supports an award recognizing ‘technical excellence.’

Nihal is proud to honor his friend and mentor and to help nurture future leaders in the field. According to Nihal, “IEEE isn’t only a technical organization, but a great platform through which to share your technical expertise and contribute your goodwill for the benefit of the pioneers of the ‘knowledge economy.’”

Ray Larsen

Ray Larsen
MEMBER GRADE: Life Fellow
Serving IEEE and Humanity


Since graduating with a degree in electrical engineering and starting his career in the late 1950s, Ray Larsen has felt compelled to address the needs of underserved populations globally, and IEEE has provided him the platform for this noble work.

“Mid-career, I served as President of the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society, which led to a public introspection about engineering ethics in a world of constant conflict and the reality of large populations enduring abject poverty due to colonial exploitation that continues to this day,” said Ray. He responded by helping to launch IEEE Smart Village (ISV) -- a priority initiative that works to support energy-impoverished communities globally by providing renewable energy, community-based education and entrepreneurial opportunities -- during IEEE’s Humanitarian Technology Challenge of 2008-2010.

Since co-founding ISV with colleague and fellow IEEE member Dr. Robin Podmore a decade ago, “my wife Albe (a Senior Life Member of IEEE) and I have devoted a major part of our lives to developing IEEE Smart Village,” Ray said. “Individually, we’ve always given to many charities and tithed to our church, but with ISV we’re challenged to contribute serious ‘skin in the game’ and to encourage others to do likewise; we can’t ask others for significant funds without being willing to take that risk ourselves.”

“Along with our amazing volunteers and even more amazing Community Entrepreneurs dedicating their lives to their work, we’re honored and grateful to have the opportunity to serve not just IEEE, but the humanity to whom we all owe great new opportunities to realize their full potential,” Ray said of his desire to give back. “None of this is possible without donors who feel a real sense of ownership in what we do and a dedication to the communities we serve.”

Jim Look

Jim Look
MEMBER GRADE: Life Senior Member
Doing Good and Feeling Good


Jim Look can’t say enough about the big initiatives, key people and major world events he’s experienced during his more than 50 years of IEEE membership. “Early in my career, I worked in the Middle East and IEEE publications were my primary source of leading-edge technical information,” said Jim, current 2020-21 Director of IEEE Region 5. “Now, volunteering with the IEEE has been an opportunity to do good and feel good.”

Among the initiatives close to his heart, Jim recently donated to the John Meredith Memorial Fund (recognizing longtime IEEE member/leader and 2007 IEEE-USA President and IEEE Foundation Director Emeritus John Meredith, who passed in September 2018) as well as the IEEE-USA Community Outreach Vehicle (MOVE). “I wished to memorialize John because of his tremendous personal contribution to IEEE overall and to the Region in particular, while the MOVE truck represents the physical embodiment of volunteer action supporting those in need,” he said.

Jim chose to donate through Donor Advised Funds because “they can have significant U.S. Federal tax advantages, depending on your personal tax situation,” he explained. “A large lump sum contribution can be made to a Donor Advised fund in one tax year, possibly qualifying for the Federal income tax deduction for charitable donations, and then those same funds can be disbursed tax-free over many years at your discretion and to your favorite charity, all the while continuing to earn investment gains.”

“With IEEE’s vast selection of special-interest groups, technical societies and humanitarian programs, you can find an activity to support, regardless of your passion,” Jim confirmed. “In fact, it’s our duty to build upon the successes of the engineers and scientists who have preceded us and support the efforts of our colleagues working to advance the state of the art for the benefit of humanity.”

Robin Podmore

Robin Podmore
MEMBER GRADE: Life Fellow
To Give is to Receive


As co-founder of IEEE Smart Village (ISV), a priority initiative that works to support energy-impoverished communities globally by providing renewable energy, community-based education and entrepreneurial opportunities, “we’re on the verge of really being able to solve complex global challenges,” confirmed Dr. Robin Podmore. “And IEEE is poised to do this like no other organization.”

Since launching ISV with colleague and fellow IEEE member Ray Larsen a decade ago, Robin – whose most recent company, Incsys, is one of the world’s leading suppliers of power system simulation training – has helped deliver landmark upgrades to global villages and their residents. Among programs he’s made generous financial donations to and/or helped drive with IEEE, “we enabled the creation of one of the leading microgrid providers in Nigeria, and our team is currently completing a new school in Kenya which will represent the first IEEE vocational training center in Africa,” he said. “The opportunity to learn, grow, and build teams through ISV has been an amazing collaborative experience. I’ve always loved a start-up, but this one has a tremendous humanitarian impact.”

According to Robin, “my hope is that every child – regardless of their background, circumstance or geography – will be able to enjoy the job and future of their dreams. Through targeted training programs we’re providing in local languages, we hope to enable people to celebrate and preserve their unique background and reverse their belief that they have to leave their families and villages to secure safe and meaningful employment.”

“You start out thinking that you’re giving, but the people you meet, the things you learn, and what you get back are incredible,” Robin said of the rewards of his 50+ years of IEEE involvement. “The professional relationships and friendships I’ve forged at IEEE are amazing and IEEE truly feels like family.”

CJ Reddy

CJ Reddy
MEMBER GRADE: Fellow
Funding Invaluable Opportunities to Travel


Recognizing the significant role IEEE has played in his professional success for nearly 30 years, Dr. CJ Reddy wanted to give back. A longtime member of IEEE’s Antennas & Propagation Society (APS), Dr. Reddy was aware of other members who had established travel grants to help graduate students attend IEEE conferences but wasn’t sure how to coordinate this. Following conversations with IEEE Foundation staff to better understand the range of donation mechanisms available and identify his preferences, Dr. Reddy made a very generous gift of $250,000 in corporate stock and the IEEE APS CJ Reddy Travel Grant for Graduate Students Fund was established.

First involved with IEEE as a student member in India and now a Fellow, “IEEE and the Antennas and Propagation Society have been an integral part of my career growth,” said Dr. Reddy. “As someone who’s benefited both professionally and personally from attending the APS’s annual conference since 1992, I’d like to extend the same opportunity to the younger generation so that they can attend the conference and benefit from the activities as I had. I’m truly honored and grateful to the IEEE Foundation and APS for establishing the Fund.”

The IEEE APS CJ Reddy Travel Grant for Graduate Students Fund will recognize its first recipients at its 2020 gathering in Montreal, where Dr. Reddy plans to be in attendance to meet the beneficiaries and personally offer his congratulations. Said Dr. Reddy, “I’m excited and proud to provide qualified young students with the same opportunities to attend the APS conferences that I was afforded and to set an example for other IEEE members as to how they can turn their philanthropy into impact.”

Dennis Shapiro

Dennis Shapiro
MEMBER GRADE: Life Fellow
Supporting the Exploration of Open Access


Among the engineering field’s most pressing challenges today is the mode by which magazines, periodicals, journals and other publications are distributed by publishers and accessed by readers. While the concept of Open Access (a mechanism through which publishers distribute information online, free of charge) is becoming more widely adopted in the publishing world, it presents logistical and financial concerns for a revenue-generating business model that has been in existence for decades.

However, IEEE Foundation Board member and retired Chairman of Lifeline Systems, Inc. Dennis Shapiro is helping to tackle this issue head on. He funded the popular ‘Scanning Our Past’ features in Proceedings of the IEEE. According to Dennis, “the objective is two-fold -- first, to continue to bring the feature to as wide an audience as possible at no additional cost to them, and second, to lead by example and hopefully motivate others to take a similar path and sponsor one or more issues in the interest of exploring the benefits of Open Access.”

An active IEEE member since the early 1950s, Dennis has donated extensively to the IEEE History Center Fund and IEEE Foundation Fund. Dennis’ most recent creative contribution to ‘Scanning Our Past’ not only benefits Proceedings, the IEEE History Center, the IEEE Foundation, and all IEEE members who are interested in maintaining access to this historically relevant and enjoyable feature, but the future of Open Access as well.

Mark Sickles

Mark Sickles
MEMBER GRADE: Member
‘Returning the Favor’ by Giving Back


As an active volunteer on the IEEE Smart Village Technology Committee, Mark Sickles remembers the IEEE outreach that helped launch his own professional career decades ago. “I benefitted from financial support and encouragement when I first entered the electrical trade, and after several years of work I was able to finish my Bachelors of Science,” said Mark, who proceeded to enjoy a more than 30-year career as a Power Engineer in the electrical utility industry. “Since being introduced to the IEEE Smart Village initiative in 2012, I’ve assisted other students as I was once helped many years ago.”

Channeling his volunteer efforts into one-on-one opportunities with individuals as well as ISV projects, “I’ve provided assistance in generator governor control and lightning protection in Cameroon and Namibia,” Mark said of work that’s been instrumental in protecting ISV-funded micro-grids and solar power generation facilities in west Africa. “IEEE has provided economic support for several of my projects, including village solar home light kits and the single-solar community water well in the northwest Namibian village of Puros.”

In 2014, Mark, his wife, and several friends raised money to build a primary school addition in Puros. “Since then, my wife and I have been back to Puros several times to provide teacher training and to help fund and upgrade/repair the existing solar water system in the village,” shared Mark, who’s grateful to fellow IEEE colleague/ISV co-founder Dr. Robin Podmore for his financial assistance with the endeavor. “We utilized IEEE to help speed and track the payment process.”

In the end, “I’m just a simple person living life and giving back what I can to the world before I go,” Mark said. “I’m grateful that initiatives like IEEE Smart Village can help provide opportunities to put one’s money and efforts to a higher use.”

Greg Stone

Greg Stone
MEMBER GRADE: Life Fellow
Helping Young Researchers Gain Wider Recognition


Over the past several decades, Greg Stone has benefitted tremendously from his active involvement in the IEEE Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Society (DEIS). “My first job after graduating university was in the Research Division of Canadian utility Ontario Hydro,” Greg recalled. “My mentors, Dr. Ed Cherney and Mo Kurtz, were both IEEE DEIS members and encouraged me to join. Soon, I was publishing papers in the DEIS publication, presenting papers at DEIS conferences, working on DEIS standards, and eventually serving in DEIS executive positions, including Society President. I’ve always liked technical discussions,” he said, “and IEEE meetings are a place where there’s a high density of world-class technical experts in my field.”

Greg, the IEEE DEIS Awards and Recognition Committee Chair, graciously donated his 2018 IEEE Richard Harold Kaufmann Technical Field Award cash prize of US$10,000 to the fund established by the IEEE Foundation to support the IEEE’s DEIS Steve A. Boggs Young Investigator Award, given every two years to individuals who have achieved their first significant results in the field of Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation.

“While at Ontario Hydro, I shared a cubicle with Dr. Boggs for over 10 years,” Greg said. “Steve was a very original thinker who pioneered technologies that are now considered standard. When Steve moved on to other organizations (finally ending at the University of Connecticut), he channeled his passion into training a new generation of researchers in the electrical insulation field.”

Following Dr. Boggs’ passage in 2018, his University of Connecticut colleagues suggested a new IEEE DEIS award to recognize the achievements of younger researchers in the electrical insulation field and Greg was totally supportive. Said Greg, “I’m honored to contribute to this worthwhile cause and think that the Boggs Award will allow truly gifted researchers to gain wider recognition of their contributions.”

Sundar Venkataraman

Sundar Venkataraman
MEMBER GRADE: Senior Member
Paying Back to His Profession


An IEEE Member since his college days, Sundar Venkataraman has regularly attended IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES) meetings and other events annually. “These meetings and conferences gave me an opportunity to meet like-minded people and learn about the latest and greatest in the field,” he said. “It also gave me an opportunity to pay back to my profession through involvement with IEEE Foundation-run programs like IEEE Smart Village, which use technology to solve global challenges.”

For someone passionate about bringing clean energy to remote communities using sustainable business models, “the IEEE Smart Village program is all that and more,” Sundar said. “It provides a comprehensive solution to impoverished communities by combining renewable energy, community-based education and entrepreneurial opportunities. I initially started volunteering my time to help identify communities that could benefit from this program and then furthered the cause by making a donation.”

He opted to donate through honorarium giving. “In my case, the honorarium was for teaching a tutorial on transmission planning to entry-level engineers, which I did out of my passion for the subject and to help update young engineers on this topic quickly,” he explained. “I wasn’t really expecting to be paid for this and saw the honorarium gift as a chance to give back.”

“There are several ways to become involved locally -- by mentoring high school or college students in your community, volunteering your time for professional work groups and committees, participating in programs run by the Foundation that address global challenges, and more,” Sundar concluded. “I believe in giving back -- whether to your community, profession, or education -- and IEEE is a great vehicle for that.”

For Donors

 

Stay Connected

  • LinkedIn logo

Did You Know?

The IEEE Foundation is leading a special Campaign to raise awareness, forge partnerships and generate funds - with the goal of raising US$30M. The Realize the Full Potential of IEEE Campaign launched early in 2018. 

IEEE Foundation

IEEE Development Office
445 Hoes Lane
Piscataway, NJ 08854, U.S.A.
Phone: +1 732 465 5871
Email: donate@ieee.org

Home  |  Contact & Support  |  Accessibility  |  Nondiscrimination Policy  |  Privacy & Opting Out of Cookies  |  Disclosures

© Copyright 2019 IEEE – All rights reserved. Use of this Web site signifies your agreement to the IEEE Terms and Conditions.
A not-for-profit organization, IEEE is the world's largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity.