IEEE Canadian Foundation
Annual Meeting of the Members, December 5, 2000
The first year of the new millenium has been a year of steady progress for the IEEE Canadian Foundation (ICF).
The members of the Board of Directors have been efficient and active in the operation of the ICF, in the face of continuing administrative challenges and have all made significant contributions to the ICF's success in the year 2000.
The ICF suffered a major loss with the passing of Fred Heath, a Electrical Engineer who as one of Canada's most energetic and recognized IEEE members. The ICF has honoured Fred Heath with a memorial tribute on the ICF web site and is participating in plans for a continuing tribute at the University of Alberta - his alma mater.
The Use of the Web
Major strides have been made in the use of what has now become the universal medium to Engineers around the world - the Web.
The ICF has moved to sharing its administrative functions (e.g. minutes of meetings, notice of meetings, co-ordination, and information flow etc.) through the Web. The ICF Web site has been now active for 3 years and is becoming a point of reference and an information source to student members, regular members and the public in general.
Bob Alden, the ICF Webmaster has been instrumental in encouraging the use of the Web and extending its reach to the Directors and the IEEE in general.
I foresee that the Web will continue to grow in importance as a means of expanding the scope of operations of the ICF while containing the costs of that expansion.
The ICF has had a successful year in promoting the benefits of IEEE student membership to University and College level students in electrical and computer engineering programs.
A continuing initiative, carried out by Luc Matteau, was the presentation to the Student Branch Executives (in both languages) of the ICF "story" in Montreal, last September. This is the second event attended by the ICF and it would appear that the benefits are quite substantial in raising the awareness of the possible funding opportunities.
The ICF has continued to fund the McNaughton Scholarships, and while the full complement of funding was not expended, the program has continued to highlight the role that the ICF has in the IEEE in Canada and has continued to provide direct financial benefits to qualified young Engineers in their penultimate year.
The ICF has also continued to fund the development and the support of McNaughton Centres. To date, there are 27 Centres at various Engineering Schools in Canada providing many services (e.g. printing facilities, info centres etc.) to undergraduate students.
The feedback from the Universities on the targeted funding of students in their penultimate year of study continues to be very positive and has received recognition at a number of recent Awards Nights Ceremonies.
The direction, going forward to 2001, for this program is to keep and maintain the success and build and expand upon it. The ICF target could be the full expenditure of the allocated budget for Student Programs.
The selection, assessment and recommendations for support of the Student Programs is carried out by the Disbursements Committee, chaired by David Whyte. In a number of cases, David has initiated an e-mail vote for approval in order to expedite the timing of expenditures and support. I foresee that this technique will allow the ICF to be more expedient and responsive to the Students. David is one of the pivot points around which the ICF operates.
A continuing concern however, is the issue of support for the IEEE by the Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the form of faculty Student Branch Councillors. These positions are, in many cases filled by a "force fit" by the Department Head with minor regard as to the duties, and capabilities of the individuals involved. However, experience has also shown that when the Councillor is a "good one", the impact can be spectacular and very formative in gaining and retaining IEEE members.
The financial details of the student expenditure programs are available in the Treasurer's Report.
As a registered charitable organization in Canada, the ICF has attracted a modest, but growing level of financial support from IEEE members in Canada.
The donations program is mainly driven by the dues check off item on the annual IEEE renewal form.
While some suggestions as to possible directed solicitation activity have been proposed, for example, senior members and early retirees who are enjoying the benefits of a successful career and can be persuaded to give back resources to existing and future IEEE members though the ICF.
The charitable status is being carefully managed to ensure that the ICF has the possibilities for donations in future. There are plans in place for the IEEE Foundation in the USA to be folded into the operation of the IEEE, since the issue of charitable status has changed somewhat for the IEEE.
A similar change does not seem to be forthcoming at Revenue Canada, so that, for the near term, the ICF will continue in its present mode.
A change to the present mode (registered charity) will require significant changes to the Constitution and to the Bylaws and Regulations.
Over the past year, the ICF and IEEE Canada have worked diligently to move closer to each other in scheduling Board and other administrative meetings.
This will continue in 2001.
The ICF has significant advantages in having cross membership of Executives of the IEEE Canada and the ICF. Both organizations agree that this trend should continue.
One of the outcomes of this closer coupling to IEEE Canada is the greater visibility of the ICF as a means of funding programs and events in Canada for Canadian IEEE members.
This can only expand and leverage the positions of both organizations and create further opportunities for each.
The year 2000 has been a year of "steady as she goes", with a tried and proven approach.
In the turmoil that has hit the markets and the industry this year, the ICF can and did stay the course to provide the support to IEEE in Canada.
Miro Forest, SM IEEE, P.Eng.