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Reflecting on 50 Years of Planned Giving Impact: A History of Being Forever Generous

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Since its founding, the IEEE Foundation has been the proud beneficiary of many planned and estate gifts, which have played a central role in our ability to unleash exciting, thoughtful, and impactful IEEE programming. The 1973 IEEE Board of Directors foresaw this when they voted to create the IEEE Foundation, having defined one of the primary purposes “to enable IEEE to have a receptacle for non-taxable bequests…“.

Over the course of the past five decades, IEEE members have made and shared their decision to become Forever Generous. These Forever Generous donors have included the IEEE Foundation in their estate plans. Early examples from the 1980s included Myron Zucker and Gertrude & Alfred Goldsmith. Zucker’s support enabled the IEEE Industry Applications Society to create a suite of activities designed to advance the education of students. Together, the Goldsmiths’ legacy gifts exponentially expanded the IEEE Foundation’s ability to support IEEE philanthropic activities.

In 2001, the IEEE Foundation created the IEEE Goldsmith Legacy League, named for Gertrude & Alfred Goldsmith, to celebrate and recognize Forever Generous estate-giving donors in honor of the Goldsmiths’ act of generosity. The members of the League are an elite group of legacy-giving donors who are building tomorrow by ensuring IEEE programs are able to turn their ambitions into impact. 

Since the creation of the League, more than 100 IEEE members and their families have unlocked their IEEE Legacy through impactful giving to the IEEE Foundation. William and Joyce Middleton’s bequest in 2014 allowed the IEEE History Center to create the IEEE William and Joyce Middleton Electrical Engineering History Award and recognize the author of a book in the history of an IEEE-related technology. In 2019, the Jon C. Taenzer Memorial Fund was established thanks to a generous bequest from the Estate of Jon C. Taenzer to support engineers in developing countries and fund breakthroughs in aid for the disabled. To date, eight dynamic IEEE initiatives have been supported in the name of Taenzer. Most recently, the IEEE Foundation Board approved the creation of the IEEE Humanitarian Technologies Board (HTB) Endowment Fund. This US$1 million Fund was made possible by a generous bequest from the Estate of Dorothy Percival and will enable humanitarian efforts for years to come.

The IEEE Foundation is honored to assist donors with finding the right way to integrate IEEE into their estate plans, whether it be by including a bequest to the IEEE Foundation in a will or trust or by naming the IEEE Foundation as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy or IRA.  New in 2022 and in celebration of our 50th Anniversary, donors may join the League by including the IEEE Foundation in their Donor Advised Fund (DAF) Succession Plan. David (Dave) and Beverly Green are the first donors to join the League in this way. When asked why, Dave Green explained, “Like everyone with a DAF, we have made a decision to donate, over time, to causes we believe in, like the IEEE Foundation. When it came to designating successors to our DAF, it seemed obvious that we should name a charity to receive the funds rather than having someone else make decisions on directing the funds.  The IEEE Foundation was an obvious choice for us. We support the Foundation, its mission, and its programs. For us, it is the perfect choice for the remaining funds.” 

As we reflect on the rich history of 50 years of estate-giving impact created by the IEEE community, we are proud of our role in helping the memory of Forever Generous donors live on. It is a true testament to the power of estate giving and the ability you hold to become Forever Generous in Unlocking your IEEE Legacy! 

The IEEE Foundation team would be honored to assist with finding the right way for you to integrate IEEE into your estate plan. If you are considering taking the Forever Generous step, we welcome a conversation with you and your loved ones – simply complete our planned giving interest form – and a member of the team will be in touch.

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