In this issue of IEEE Life Members Newsletter, we are taking a look back at our 2020 Life Members (LMs) activities and progress while we forecast events for 2021, with LM engagement and support of IEEE programs of interest to LMs at the forefront.
This year has been one of assessment and reflection for the IEEE Life Members Committee (LMC) who we are, what we do, and how we can make the most impact on you, our 34,000+ LMs.
We began the year reviewing our charter, considering that we are a joint committee of IEEE and the IEEE Foundation. For IEEE, we report to the IEEE Member and Geographic Activities (MGA) Board through its Member Engagement and Life Cycle Committee. Next, we performed an in-depth review of our internal operations and took steps to improve our overall operation. For more information on LM activities and structure, see lifemembers.ieee.org. To aid in handling all the functions of the LMC, we established some ad hoc committees: Finance, Life Members Fund (LMF), Life Members Affinity Groups (LMAGs) Activities, Grants/Special Projects, Membership, and Operations. These subcommittees performed analysis in their respective areas and made recommendations to the Operations Committee, which was empowered to handle the administration of the LMC between regular LMC meetings.
During our reviews, we conducted a thorough analysis of our financials to include all our supported programs and implemented enhanced management controls to improve the oversight of funding. We found out that donations were not keeping pace with our ability to fund worthy programs.
Quick Status Update of Our LMC Activities
• All meetings are being held virtually due to the pandemic.
• The IEEE Foundation and the LMC have putthe joint Grants Program for 2020 and 2021 on hold. We are evaluating how to best amend the existing grant process to efficiently support IEEE initiatives.
• A new special project funding opportunity is being developed—more details to follow soon.
• The LMF is excited to partner with the IEEE Foundation and encourage LMs to join the IEEE Heritage Circle: https://www.ieeefoundation.org/donors/heritage-circle?.
• Sponsorship funds from IEEE Sections Congress 2020 were returned and are now available to be repurposed to other programs or projects.
• Thanks to the donors to the LMF, we continue to proudly support LM newsletters, LM History Committee Fellowship, Bernard Finn Prize, LMAG activities, the Life Member Graduate Fellowship, and the IEEE James H. Mulligan, Jr. Education Medal.
• One visible change this year is that members with an email address will receive this newsletter via email. This is a cost-reduction measure due to declining donations. Those members who do not have an email address will still receive their newsletter in a print version. We regret the need to make this change and hope for a better future.
Looking Ahead to Our Focus Areas in 2021
• Establishing new LMAGs in IEEE Sections with 50+ LMs
• Increasing the LMAG activities for all LMs and other long-serving members
• Expanding the philanthropic programs supported to include oral histories, technical tours, IEEE Young Professionals program activities, student programs, special projects, and recognition of outstanding accomplishments of our LMs—watch for the March 2021 IEEE Life Members E-newsletter to learn more.
• Launching a new campaign to grow the LMF by US$1.5 million to expand our ability to achieve our long-term philanthropic impact for IEEE (please consider making donations: give.ieeefoundation.org/lifemembers).
Since this is the end of another year, we say thank you and farewell to some of our LMC members whose terms are ending and, as a result, we will welcome some new members beginning in January 2021. The new members are to be announced at the conclusion of the IEEE MGA Board meeting in November and will be posted on our web pages.
We hope that the LM newsletters are achieving their goal of improving the communication between the LMC and LMs to ensure that members remain informed and engaged. Please feel free to contact your local LMAG chair, regional coordinator, or me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions for future editions.