The IEEE Foundation, the philanthropic partner of IEEE, announced the results of its ‘Realize the Full Potential of IEEE’ Campaign. More than 15,000 individual donors and institutions rose to the occasion, surpassing the Campaign’s $30 million goal and empowered the Foundation’s mission as outlined in four pillars: Illuminate, Educate, Engage and Energize.

More than half of the world’s population lives without access to reliable internet, more than 1 billion people live without access to reliable electricity, and the need for STEM professionals grows each day. The $30 million raised has already been instrumental to the continuation of the IEEE Foundation’s work in addressing these challenges through the use of technology and education.

Publicly launched in February 2018, this groundbreaking effort identified multiple objectives, including. Examples include: Raising awareness of the IEEE initiatives that are addressing pressing global challenges, such as access to internet, electricity and STEM education; Forging strong partnerships with corporations, individuals and nonprofits to advance work already underway; Expanding resources to have a more significant impact in communities around the globe through access, education and awareness initiatives.

The Campaign also included key efforts from the IEEE Smart Village. Many areas in the world are still without electricity and the services that build on it. IEEE Smart Village (ISV) projects support off the grid electric power, internet access, and educational activities in remote areas of the world. ISV has provided power to more than 350,000 people in more than 100 villages in nine countries.

One example is the ISV – Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE) Partnership, a joint effort which brought electric lighting to remote populations in the Himalayan region of Northern India. The volunteer team of engineers installed solar-powered microgrids in an elementary school and at a 12th century monastery. The installation also included a computer lab with a satellite Internet link. In 2020, ISV funded 10 new projects in 7 different countries. Each project is designed to close the energy-gap for the world’s most energy impoverished citizens.

“There are so many technological advances that people around the globe take for granted as essential to their everyday lives,” says John R. Treichler, President, IEEE Foundation. “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.”

The IEEE Move Truck volunteers provide mobile services of emergency power, Internet access, and cellphone chargers to natural disaster victims and aid workers. Photo credit: IEEE-USA

The Campaign has also funded other initiatives, like the IEEE-USA Mobile Outreach Vehicle (MOVE). The MOVE truck is a specially equipped vehicle that provides short-term power and communications solutions to U.S. communities affected by natural disasters. When not deployed for natural disasters, MOVE volunteers use the vehicle to conduct STEM-related community outreach. Since its debut in 2016, the MOVE truck has seen 19 vehicle deployments, more than 17,000 volunteer hours supporting affected areas, and more than 200,000 people reached through STEM-related community outreach.

“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,” said Leah H. Jamieson, 2007 IEEE President and IEEE Foundation President Emerita. “With every dollar contributed, we are one step closer to solving some of the most pressing issues of our time.”

Robin Podmore (Right) delivered tablets preloaded with lessons and books to the students at Maa Trust, through an IEEE Smart Village Outreach effort . Portable solar panels keep the units charged for easy use. Photo credit: Maa Trust