The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

IEEE Foundation’s Fundraising Campaign Raises More Than US $30 Million

Donations go to programs that provide reliable electricity and STEM education to underserved communities

3 min read
Illustration of hands putting money in a jar.
Illustration: iStockphoto

THE INSTITUTE The IEEE Foundation has surpassed its US $30 million goal for the Realize the Full Potential of IEEEfundraising campaign. More than 15,000 individuals and institutions donated to the campaign, which publicly launched in February 2018. Its aim was to raise awareness of IEEE initiatives that address pressing global challenges such as access to the Internet, reliable electricity; and educational programs on science, technology, engineering, and math.

“The IEEE Foundation thanks all the donors, supporters, and volunteers for their contributions to the campaign and their support of our shared mission to advance technology for the benefit of humanity,” Leah Jamieson, IEEE Foundation president emerita, says. “With every dollar contributed, we are one step closer to solving some of the most pressing issues of our time.”

More than half the world’s population has no Internet access, and more than 1 billion people cannot access reliable electricity. Meanwhile, the need for STEM professionals grows each day.

The $30 million raised has been instrumental to IEEE donor supported programs’ work in addressing challenges through the use of technology and education.


Some programs that have benefited from the donations are IEEE Smart Village, the IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES) Scholarship Plus Initiative, and IEEE-USA Mobile Outreach Vehicle (MOVE) community outreach program.

IEEE Smart Village brings electricity—as well as access to education and job opportunities—to more than 300,000 people in nearly three dozen remote, off-the-grid communities worldwide. Smart Village has 17 active projects in 11 countries including Cameroon, Honduras, and Namibia. Each project is designed to close the energy gap for the world’s most energy-impoverished citizens.

The program in 2016 worked with the Global Himalayan Expedition Partnership, an organization that couples tourism with technology to bring solar energy to remote communities. A volunteer team of engineers installed solar-powered microgrids in an elementary school and at a 12th-century monastery in a remote Himalayan town in India. A computer lab with a satellite Internet link that was installed at the school and monastery remains in operation today. 

The PES Scholarship Plus program provides grants and work experience to undergraduate students pursuing a career in power engineering. The initiative supports the students by providing up to three years of tuition assistance, facilitating internships and co-op experience, and offering mentoring opportunities. Since the initiative’s launch in 2011, more than 1,060 students from more than 200 universities in Canada and the United States have received scholarships. More than 600 PES scholar alumni are working full time in the industry.

The specially equipped MOVE provides short-term power and communications solutions to communities affected by natural disasters in the United States. When not deployed for such events, MOVE volunteers take the vehicle to schools and science fairs to educate students and community members about ways technology can help people during disasters. Since MOVE’s debut in 2016, the vehicle has been deployed 19 times, and more than 17,000 volunteer hours have supported affected areas. It is estimated that more than 200,000 people have been reached through the STEM-related community outreach program.

“There are so many technological advances that people around the globe take for granted as essential to their everyday lives,” IEEE Foundation President John R. Treichler says. “These difficult times demonstrate the urgency of the problems we face and the power of technology to help us overcome them. We move forward with a rejuvenated commitment to raising awareness of IEEE initiatives, forging strong partnerships, and fostering future generations of STEM professionals that will make the world a better place.”

Donations to the IEEE Foundation are always appreciated. When you donate online you can designate a specific program or let the Foundation determine where the need is greatest. You also can donate by mail, over the phone, or through your company’s matching-gift program. Or you can contact the Foundation directly. If you’d like, you can choose to remain anonymous. Learn more about ways to give.

Karen Kaufman is senior manager of communications for theIEEE Foundation.

IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

The Conversation (0)

Get unlimited IEEE Spectrum access

Become an IEEE member and get exclusive access to more stories and resources, including our vast article archive and full PDF downloads
Get access to unlimited IEEE Spectrum content
Network with other technology professionals
Establish a professional profile
Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
Discover IEEE events and activities
Join and participate in discussions

Economics Drives Ray-Gun Resurgence

Laser weapons, cheaper by the shot, should work well against drones and cruise missiles

4 min read
In an artist’s rendering, a truck is shown with five sets of wheels—two sets for the cab, the rest for the trailer—and a box on the top of the trailer, from which a red ray is projected on an angle, upward, ending in the silhouette of an airplane, which is being destroyed

Lockheed Martin's laser packs up to 300 kilowatts—enough to fry a drone or a plane.

Lockheed Martin

The technical challenge of missile defense has been compared with that of hitting a bullet with a bullet. Then there is the still tougher economic challenge of using an expensive interceptor to kill a cheaper target—like hitting a lead bullet with a golden one.

Maybe trouble and money could be saved by shooting down such targets with a laser. Once the system was designed, built, and paid for, the cost per shot would be low. Such considerations led planners at the Pentagon to seek a solution from Lockheed Martin, which has just delivered a 300-kilowatt laser to the U.S. Army. The new weapon combines the output of a large bundle of fiber lasers of varying frequencies to form a single beam of white light. This laser has been undergoing tests in the lab, and it should see its first field trials sometime in 2023. General Atomics, a military contractor in San Diego, is also developing a laser of this power for the Army based on what’s known as the distributed-gain design, which has a single aperture.

Keep Reading ↓Show less