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Meet our Donors


Xie Ken

Ken Xie, NAE '13

Ken Xie attended his first National Academy of Engineering activity in March 2013-the Regional Meeting at Stanford. While there, NAE vice president Maxine Savitz remarked on the importance of philanthropy to NAE's work. Shortly thereafter, Ken Xie decided to direct a $100,000 gift from the Xie Foundation in support of the NAE Independent Fund.


When asked why it was important to him to support NAE early in his membership, Mr. Xie replied:

"The Academy is uniquely positioned to bring awareness to the great potential of engineering. At a time when it will take creative thinking to maintain American competitiveness and address global problems, I want to make sure NAE has the resources to build strong relationships and to educate government leaders and the public.”


Mr. Xie, founder and CEO of Fortinet, a publicly traded company that specializes in cybersecurity, was elected for “contributions to cybersecurity, including network security systems and services.” In 2012, over 600 NAE members gave $1.5 million to the Independent Fund, a sizeable increase over the previous year. Mr. Xie’s generosity, and that of other NAE members, can help NAE maintain the growth of this vital fund, giving the Academy more opportunities to advocate for engineering to be part of the solution to global challenges. 


Ellis (NAS, '73) and Bettsy Cowling
When NAS member Ellis Cowling was asked to reflect on his years on the NAS Council and on the Committee on Science Engineering and Public Policy, he presented a thoughtful essay on what he had learned:

"The National Academies are a unique, valuable, and precious resource for two major reasons. First, the Academies provide encouragement for continuous improvement of scientific understanding of the natural, built, and mathematical worlds that surrounds us. Second, the Academies help our country (and other democratic societies around the world) learn how to use scientific knowledge ... for making wise public policy choices."


 Ellis and Bettsy Cowling


These convictions and experiences in the NAS have shaped the philanthropic decisions of both Ellis and his wife Bettsy. The Cowlings graciously decided to leave a portion of their current income and net worth to charities whose missions are to improve the quality of the human experience.


Long term benefits for society are of great interest to the Cowlings. They believe the NAS deserves their support because of the tremendous good it provides for our nation and around the world.

The Cowlings hope their fellow members will consider making at least modest annual contributions to the Academies' endowment, and also include the NAS in their long-term Estate Plans. These investments will help maintain the high standards of scientific work in the Academies and facilitate reports on critically important science-based topics chosen directly by the Academies in addition to those requested by Congress and various government agencies.


Trevor O. Jones, NAE '82
Trevor Jones was elected to the NAE in 1982 for his leadership in the application of electronics to the automobile to enhance its mechanical performance. Since then, he has participated in studies on topics including biological warfare, automotive fuel economy, nuclear regulatory management, aerospace, military systems, and deep sea oil drilling. Mr. Jones also chaired the “2020 Energy Vision” Regional Meeting in Cleveland, OH in 2006, a meeting that drew over 1,300 attendees and 1,000 viewers via webcast.

Trevor Jones“The National Academy of Engineering, as part of the National Academies, provides unimpeachable, unbiased views and recommendations on vital and strategic technological issues of national importance. It is therefore incumbent upon all professional engineers, particularly NAE members, to fully support NAE’s participation in these endeavors.”


Mr. Jones has been a generous donor to the NAE for over two decades. He says that he supports the NAE because, as an engineer, he feels a sense of responsibility to support an organization that plays such a unique and nationally important role.

"Being an NAE member provides an unparalleled opportunity to participate in major, advanced technological studies. Such participation provides NAE members the opportunity to interface with a very broad spectrum of expertise in a wide variety of university, government, and industry research organizations. The impact of this career building experience is extremely rewarding and unattainable outside of the NAE.”



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