The 2023 Giving Guide: Impact and Philanthropy

IEEE ImpactAndPhilanthropy

Have you ever pondered how IEEE makes such a large impact? The main reasons are the generosity of individuals, IEEE Members and Friends and their donations to the IEEE Foundation. Contrary to popular belief, in the United States, individual giving is the most significant portion of contributions to nonprofits. 

Giving USA attributes 63.9% of all nonprofit contributions in 2022 to individuals, resulting in US$319 Billion. That collective impact from individual donations is astounding. Due to individual support in 2022, the IEEE Foundation was able to educate 646,359 people, support disaster areas with 4,632 volunteer hours, preserve 30 additional oral histories, recognize 307 professionals, among many other accomplishments.

As a trusted resource for IEEE Members and Friends, the IEEE Foundation shares the following information to ensure you can maximize impact through your philanthropy. As a US 501(c)3 organization, the IEEE Foundation offers many ways to give, including: Donor Advised Funds, IRA Charitable Rollover, Monthly Giving, Appreciated Marketable Securities, Cryptocurrency, and Planned Giving. Below are brief descriptions of each giving method and what other IEEE Members have to say about why they chose that method. While we hope that you use these methods to make an impact at IEEE, these can generally be used with any origination close to your heart that accepts philanthropic gifts.

Donor Advised Funds

A donor-advised fund (DAF) is a centralized charitable account that enables charitably-inclined individuals, families, and businesses to make tax-deductible charitable donations of cash, publicly-traded stock, and in some cases, certain illiquid assets to a public charity that sponsors a DAF program. 

To donate via a DAF, a donor makes an irrevocable contribution to the donor-advised fund (DAF) associated with their financial institute of choice and can take an immediate tax deduction. The donor can name their DAF anything the donor would like; appoint friends and family members to help the donor manage the responsibilities of a DAF and design a Legacy Plan to determine what will be done with the DAF assets beyond their lifetime, which may include appointing successors or charitable beneficiaries (Tip – nominating the IEEE Foundation as a successor for your DAF also qualifies you for entry into the IEEE Goldsmith Legacy League). The donor can then invest assets in the DAF per their designated investment strategy, giving the donor the potential to generate even more philanthropic capital. As soon as the DAF is set up, the donor can recommend organizations for grants to be approved by their financial services provider. The financial services provider can approve grants to most organizations that are tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code (Code) Section 501(c)(3) and classified as public charities under Code Section 509(a), as well as certain private operating foundations. For a comprehensive list, check with your financial services provider.

David (Dave) and Beverly Green included the IEEE Foundation in their DAF Succession Plan. They said of the decision, “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.” 

Dave and Beverly are members of the IEEE Goldsmith Legacy League and Nikola Tesla level members of the IEEE Heritage Circle.

IRA Charitable Rollover

The IRA Charitable Rollover allows individual retirement account (IRA) 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 73. For more information about the specifics of IRA Charitable Rollovers, we invite you to visit our website.

We honor Julian Bussgang‘s memory through his generous giving and the words he shared with us: “The IRA Charitable Rollover is a wonderful and painless way to make donations!” Julian passed away in 2023 and is a member of the IEEE Goldsmith Legacy League.

Monthly Giving

Monthly donors make automatic donations every month, which makes it easier for IEEE programs to plan long-term and budget more efficiently. Monthly donors sustain our programs. And monthly gifts can be changed in amount or canceled at any time. A commitment to a recurring gift demonstrates an ongoing dedication to improving access to technology, enhancing technological literacy, and supporting technical education.By spreading giving out monthly, gifts can be tailored to any budget, while ensuring a lasting impact on IEEE programs. 

According to a longtime IEEE member and current Fellow Dr. Noel Schulz and her husband, “the process of donating monthly and/or steadily to IEEE over time can accomplish the same level of impact on an initiative as a larger donation without being an excessive burden on one’s personal finances. We encourage others to adopt this cumulative method of providing support, as it has and continues to have a major impact on the livelihood of IEEE programs.”

Dr. Schulz is a Nikola Tesla level member of the IEEE Heritage Circle.

Appreciated Marketable Securities

A gift of appreciated marketable securities, such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds, may provide a significant benefit to the donor as well as support the mission of the IEEE Foundation. By donating appreciated securities that are held for at least one year, the donor: 

  • can avoid the capital gains taxes on the “paper profits”
  • is entitled to a charitable income tax deduction on the full fair value of the asset
  • may use the deduction, up to 30%, of the adjusted gross income in the year of the gift
  • can carry forward any unused deductions for the next five years; supports a charitable activity that advances technology and education.

In 2022, IEEE Life Member John Derrick and his wife Linda made a five-year commitment to support the IEEE Power and Energy Society Scholarship Plus Initiative. Due to their careful planning, their financial advisor encouraged them to use a gift of appreciated stock to pay off the five-year pledge early, and they said they were so glad they did. The Derricks recognized that annual cash giving is still essential at retirement and adds another important dimension to their estate planning. John added, “I’m 83, so there’s little time to lose! I never thought I’d be in this position in my life. I am enjoying being able to really help others.” 

John and Linda Derrick are Alexander Graham Bell level members of the IEEE Heritage Circle.


New in 2023, Crypto philanthropy is an emerging and often taxwise way for crypto users to support the IEEE Foundation. We accept donations in Bitcoin, Ethereum, and more than 100 additional leading cryptocurrencies. Donating crypto is safe, easy and fast. Making a charitable donation to the IEEE Foundation is a quick three-step process detailed here on our website.

If the cryptocurrency one wishes to donate has decreased in value, it is normally better to sell the asset, take the capital loss, and make the gift with the cash proceeds. As with any tax-related questions, be sure to consult with a qualified, professional tax advisor.

Planned Giving

There are many ways to show support through Planned Giving and it is never too early to start! The IEEE Foundation team is honored to assist with finding the right way for you to include IEEE in your estate plan. Here are some of the many options: 

  • Wills and Trusts: Leaving a bequest by including language in wills and trusts is the most common way to leave an estate gift to the IEEE Foundation. To make a gift from your estate, you must sign a new will or living trust instrument, add a codicil to your present will, or amend your present trust instrument.
  • Charitable Remainder Trust: Life income gifts, such as a Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT), may be the answer to assuring the future of both your loved ones and the IEEE Foundation. Charitable remainder trusts are tax-free trusts that pay you – as well as other possible designated beneficiaries – an annual distribution, often in quarterly installments.
  • Life Insurance: Most people have life insurance to ensure the financial security of their loved ones. Yet, life insurance can be used for other purposes, including leaving a philanthropic gift to the IEEE Foundation. There are two different ways you can structure a gift of life insurance to the IEEE Foundation: Name the IEEE Foundation as Beneficiary or Transfer ownership to the IEEE Foundation.
  • Retirement Plan: If left to a non-spouse beneficiary, the assets from 401(k), 403 (b), IRA, Keogh, or other such accounts are not only subject to estate tax, but the heir(s) will have to pay income tax as they withdraw the funds. To avoid this ‘double taxation’, you can name the IEEE Foundation as the beneficiary of your retirement plan and use other assets not subject to income tax to make gifts to your heirs.

IEEE Life Senior Member Robert “Bob” Dent embodies the philanthropic spirit and emanates a strong desire to personally “give back” to IEEE and his community. Bob is a champion in providing funding opportunities in avenue of planned giving and also monthly giving, matching gifts and leadership giving. For his Planned Giving, Bob is a member of the IEEE donor recognition group, the IEEE Goldsmith Legacy League. “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 says, “I want to pay forward to programs that benefit present and future electrical engineers and society, in general.”

The IEEE Goldsmith Legacy League is named for Gertrude and Alfred N. Goldsmith in recognition of their extraordinary commitment to IEEE. Alfred N. Goldsmith was a founder of the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) (a predecessor society of IEEE), Editor of the Proceedings of the IRE for 42 years, and an IRE Board member for 51 years. His commitment did not end with his lifetime; his estate included a generous bequest for the IEEE Foundation. Mr. Goldsmith’s bequest was the most generous the IEEE Foundation had seen until a few years later, when his wife Gertrude Goldsmith honored her husband’s legacy and expressed her own gratitude to the profession by leaving an even greater amount in her estate. Together, the Goldsmiths’ legacy gifts exponentially expanded the IEEE Foundation’s ability to support IEEE philanthropic imperatives. 

In addition to the knowledge that a legacy gift makes a difference to the future of IEEE, members of the IEEE Goldsmith Legacy League receive a special recognition item, recognition in the IEEE Foundation Annual Report and other appropriate IEEE Foundation publications, and personal estate and tax planning information. If you are currently considering taking this forever generous step, the IEEE Foundation team welcomes a conversation with you and your loved ones.

The IEEE Foundation invites you to cement your legacy by considering a gift via the various methods of giving –  Donor Advised Funds, IRA Charitable Rollover, Monthly Giving, Appreciated Marketable Securities, Cryptocurrency, and Planned Giving – and joining other like-minded IEEE members in supporting the impactful programs of IEEE. To stay up to date on Foundation news and impacts, we invite you to follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook or sign up to receive our newsletter. To learn more about the innovative programming that the IEEE Foundation supports, explore our website.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal, tax or investment advice. If you are considering a gift to the IEEE Foundation, we highly recommend you consult with your tax and legal advisors to determine the best options for you.

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