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IEEE Heritage Circle: Celebrating the Philanthropic Spirit

Lead Heritage Large E Newsletter 6

Philanthropy in Action

The goal of the IEEE Foundation is to partner with donors to enable more than 250 IEEE programs that advance technology for the benefit of humanity. It’s an ambitious goal—one that is made possible, in part,  by the gifts from the Foundation’s generous donors. To honor these philanthropists and to thank them for ensuring that IEEE programs are able to turn their ambitions into impact, the Foundation established the IEEE Heritage Circle

IEEE Heritage Circle: Honored Philanthropists

The IEEE Heritage Circle is the cumulative giving donor recognition program of the IEEE Foundation and it recognizes the philanthropic spirit of those who have given back to IEEE throughout their life and career. Each level of the Heritage Circle is named for one of six great innovators in the fields of science and technology—Nikola TeslaAlexander Graham BellThomas A. EdisonJames Clerk MaxwellMichael Faraday and Alessandro Volta—to honor the impact that Heritage Circle members are making on IEEE and the world.

NameLevel of Giving
Nikola Tesla$10,000+
Alexander Graham Bell$50,000+
Thomas A. Edison$100,000+
James Clerk Maxwell$250,000+
Michael Faraday$500,000+
Alessandro Volta$1M+


The following new and elevated members of the IEEE Heritage Circle personify the philanthropic spirit of IEEE and we are proud to call them partners in the work being done at the Foundation.

John and Jo-Ann McDonald, Thomas A. Edison Level

In celebration of his 50-year anniversary as a member of IEEE and IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu, John McDonald, and his wife Jo-Ann, have made two four-year pledges to the IEEE Foundation, elevating them to the Thomas A. Edison Level of the IEEE Heritage Circle. One gift is to the IEEE PES Scholarship Plus Initiative, a program that nurtures young engineers pursuing careers in power and electrical engineering through scholarships, mentoring opportunities and internships—which furthers John’s long volunteering relationship with PES. John spent five years volunteering on the PES Scholarship Plus Initiative’s scholarship selection committee, reviewing applications from eager and talented engineering students, and continues to teach Smart Grid classes to various PES chapters as a Distinguished IEEE PES Lecturer. John and Jo-Ann’s other gift seeds the IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu Student Chapter Support Fund, a brand new program designed to generate and grow resources and training for HKN chapters through the Chapter Grant Program and Chapter Coaching program. The program is near and dear to his heart, as John is himself a member of IEEE-HKN, Beta Chapter at Purdue University, and was inducted into IEEE-HKN as a second year Electrical Engineering student at Purdue University in May of 1971. 

Bahman Hoveida, Alessandro Volta Level

IEEE Life Senior Member Bahman Hoveida joined the IEEE as a student member at the suggestion of one of his Electrical Engineering professors. Many years later, having sold his groundbreaking company Open Systems International and created the Hoveida Family Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to the promotion of scientific and engineering education, he returned to IEEE to continue his legacy and impact. One of Hoveida Family Foundation’s first gifts to the IEEE Foundation was dedicated to supporting exemplary engineering scholars. Knowing Bahman’s interest in supporting the next generation of Electrical Engineers, friend and colleague John McDonald introduced Bahman to the IEEE PES Scholarship Plus Initiative. Of the 72 high-achieving power and energy engineering students to be named a 2021-2022 PES Scholar, 33 of them are Hoveida Family Scholars. Bahman Hoveida is being welcomed to the Heritage Circle at the Alessandro Volta Level. 

Dr. Henry Samueli, Nikola Tesla Level

Dr. Henry Samueli is the founder of Broadcom Corporation and the named inventor of more than 75 U.S. patents. He is a Life Fellow of IEEE, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2012, he won the Marconi Prize and Fellowship for “pioneering advances in the development and commercialization of analog and mixed signal circuits for modern communication systems, in particular the cable modem.” He was also the recipient of the 2021 IEEE Founder’s Medal in recognition of his leadership in research, development and commercialization of broadband communication and networking technology with global impact. Encouraging and supporting the next generation of engineers is at the heart of Dr. Samueli’s success—he was a full-time professor at UCLA when he co-founded Broadcom Corporation with one of his graduate students. Continuing that legacy of stewardship, Dr. Samueli is an IEEE Foundation donor and is being recognized at the Nikola Tesla Level of the IEEE Heritage Circle for his contributions to IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu, IEEE’s honor society. Dr. Henry Samueli is himself a member of IEEE-HKN, Iota Gamma Chapter, and in 2020, he received IEEE-HKN’s highest recognition—that of Eminent Member.

Steve Wozniak, Nikola Tesla Level

Steve Wozniak is undoubtedly known to most as a Silicon Valley icon. He co-founded Apple Computers, Inc. with Steve Jobs in 1976, he helped shape the computing industry by engineering the groundbreaking Apple I and Apple II computers, and he influenced the popular Macintosh. Since then, he’s continued to pursue his entrepreneurial and philanthropic interests, he penned his bestselling autobiography iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon (Norton Publishing), and he recently co-founded Efforce, which leverages disparate applications of blockchain technology. What people might not know is that Steve Wozniak is also a member of IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu, Mu Chapter! He joins the IEEE Heritage Circle at the Nikola Tesla Level for donating his 2021 IEEE Masura Ibuka Consumer Electronics Award prize money to IEEE-HKN. This donation is another example of how IEEE-HKN Eminent Member Steve Wozniak continues to support and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and engineers. 

Mary Ellen Martin Zellerbach, Nikola Tesla Level

IEEE Member Mary Ellen Martin Zellerbach’s investing accolades are impressive to say the least. As part of the original pioneering index fund team at Wells Fargo Investment Advisors, she introduced and managed the first international index fund. Mary Ellen also played a key role in placing the first S&P 500 Index Futures trade on behalf of a U.S. institutional investor. Mary Ellen is currently Managing Director of Martin Investment Management, LLC, a majority women-owned SEC registered investment advisor, and last, but certainly not least, she has graced IEEE with her talent for prudent investing for nearly 20 years. In 2015, Mary Ellen concluded an 11-year tenure, which included Chair, on the IEEE Investment Committee. She is a newly elected 2022 Director of the IEEE Foundation Board. Mary Ellen served as a steward for IEEE investments, and has furthered IEEE’s impact by personally donating to the IEEE Foundation Fund at the Nikola Tesla Level.

Lewis and Barbara Terman, Alexander Graham Bell Level

Lewis (Lew) Terman joined the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE; a predecessor of IEEE) as a student member in 1958 at the suggestion of his father, who was then IRE President. He remained a member ever since and was named an IEEE Life Fellow. Again following in his father’s footsteps, he served as IEEE President in 2008. When speaking about his history with IEEE, Lew said, “One could say IRE/IEEE was in my genes.” Wanting to give back to the organization that had been foundational to both his professional and personal development, Lew and his wife Barbara (Bobbie) Terman turned to the IEEE Foundation. Lew and Bobbie have been steadfast supporters of the IEEE Foundation throughout the years, supporting programs that advance technology for the benefit of humanity, such as IEEE Smart Village, which brings electricity, education and economic development to energy-deprived communities around the world, and EPICS (Engineering Projects In Community Service) in IEEE, a program that gives students a platform to work with engineering professionals to develop solutions that transform lives. Lew and Bobbie have achieved Alexander Graham Bell Level status for their generous donations to these programs and more.

Jack Jewell, Nikola Tesla Level

Even though IEEE Life Member Jack Jewell has been a part of IEEE for more than 30 years, he says his mouth still “waters” when he receives the latest Photonics Technology Letters in the mail. So when Jack won the prestigious IEEE Photonics Award in 2021 for his “seminal and sustained contributions to the development and commercialization of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSEL),” he decided to use the prize to give back to the organization that has given him so much. Jack’s recent donations to IEEE REACH (Raising Engineering Awareness through the Conduit of History), the IEEE Foundation Fund, the IEEE Photonics Society, and the IEEE Awards Program elevated him to the Nikola Tesla Level of the IEEE Heritage Circle. When asked why he donated the Photonics Award cash prize to IEEE, he said, “Contributing to IEEE extends our capabilities beyond our own personal professions. I hope that the donations will enhance people’s lives, both professionally and personally.” 

Continuing The Work

These are just a few of the IEEE Heritage Circle donors that are turning their professional passions into intentional impact through gifts to the IEEE Foundation. To join them and the thousands of other Foundation donors, visit the IEEE Foundation’s How to Give page or send an email to donate@ieee.org. To learn more about Foundation donors, impact, scholarships and grants – follow the Foundation on LinkedInFacebookTwitter or Collabratec®.

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