IEEE Canadian Foundation
Annual Meeting of the Members, April 4, 2006
Growing as a Canada-wide Foundation
We are making progress in involving more IEEE volunteers in the governance of our foundation and in improving the geographic diversity. Over the past five annual meetings (and projecting to this meeting), the number of participants is logged in our minutes as; 11, 9, 13, 15, 17, (17) and the percentage of those outside the Toronto Section is; 22, 11, 46, 47, 53, (65). This is being achieved by increasing the number of foundation members from across Canada, and by the use of teleconferencing with a web-based agenda. The annual meeting is truly involved in the overview governance by being charged with (a) reviewing the past year's performance and (b) electing the new or continuing directors, approving the operating budget, and appointing the auditors. We will all have to work hard to make these annual meetings a good experience for the participants - particularly for those using the web/teleconference.
Donations and Investments
While we have been fortunate in receiving several large donations over the past few years, I believe that we need to revisit our investment strategy which has traditionally been very conservative with a resulting low yield. Our present spending model is based on using the investment returns and the undirected donations of the previous year. This does not cover inflation or growth, and the grants budget is heavily restricted. The IEEE Foundation has an investment policy to produce a return of 5½% above the consumer price index. The latter component protects the funds against inflation, and the former meets the criterion of a 5% spending model and ½% for growth. The IEEE staff person who manages both the IEEE and IEEE Foundation investment funds is willing to have discussions with our investment committee.
Our online application forms are being upgraded to include features that are being used by the IEEE Foundation - since these ups for several years. As a result of my serving as a director of the IEEE Foundation, and being involved with a project to apply our online forms for their use, and having the opportunity to access IEEE IT department staff expertise, there are now several improvements that we can apply to our own forms and the process to produce and store applications and reports in a convenient format in a web-based archive. This is a future activity that I hope we will work on the near future.
Promotion of the IEEE Canadian Foundation within IEEE Canada
IEEE Canada Board - For the past four years, I have participated in the semi-annual IEEE Canada Board meetings, with the intent of informing that board in general, and the Section chairs in particular, of the activities and capabilities of our foundation. The aim is to publicize our program of Scholarships and Grants, our expertise in fiduciary responsibility and prudent investment, and our need for donations - both general and directed. I believe that this is working well and should be continued.
Student Branch Workshops - Our treasurer, Luc Matteau, has attended the annual IEEE Canada Student Branch workshops for the past several years with a complementary goal of providing information about our Scholarships and Grants and the process for successful application directly to the Student Branch representatives who attend. All indications are that these activities are appreciated and are having the desired effects.
Awards Presentations - At the 2003 Spring IEEE Canada Board Meeting, we started a new initiative where Scholarship Certificates were presented to the chairs of the winners= Section for subsequent local presentation (as this was an IEEE Canada regional awards event, it was publicized on the IEEE Canada Awards web site). This is now a continuing event. During the past year, I represented the foundation at the Kingston Section 50th anniversary, presented a foundation Scholarship, a McNaughton Photograph, and spoke about our foundation. I also attended the Ryerson University Awards Ceremony and presented a foundation Scholarship and spoke briefly about our foundation
Linkages with the IEEE and the IEEE Foundation
We presently have two direct linkages:
- I am a director of the IEEE Foundation and serve on Project Review and Audit Committees
- Wally Read is the chair of the Trustees of the IEEE History Center and an ex-officio member of the IEEE Foundation Board of Directors
- Also, IEEE now receives copies of the report that I present to IEEE Canada at the Spring and Fall meetings.
- To Wally Read for his directed donation to the Judy Clift Fund
Awards and Recognitions of Foundation Members
Miro Forest - received IEEE Canada's "W.S. Read Outstanding Service Award" at the 2005 Toronto Section AGM - presented by 'his old friend' Wally Read.
Vijay Sood - has been elected an IEEE Fellow
Eric Holdrinet - is the 2005 recipient of the RAB Leadership Award
Ferial El-Hawary - has been elected as IEEE Canada president-elect
I am confident that we are managing our evolution and growth as a national foundation and I look forward to us collectively meeting the challenges of that evolution and growth.
I thank all my fellow members of the IEEE Canadian Foundation, the volunteer leadership of both IEEE Canada and the IEEE Foundation, and associated staffs, for your inspiration, advice and support.
Robert T.H. (Bob) Alden, Ph.D., P.Eng., F EIC, LF IEEE