Latest bequest secures 73-year-old tech tycoon Azim Premji’s place alongside the world’s most influential philanthropists including Bill Gates, George Soros and Warren Buffett.
Donation To His Charitable Foundation Rises To $21 Billion
Indian tech-tycoon billionaire Azim Premji announced last Wednesday that he has donated $21 billion to his education-focused charitable arm, the Azim Premji Foundation. The donation includes a 67% stake in his IT outsourcer, Wipro, worth $15 billion, plus assets including his stakes in consumer business Wipro Enterprises and PremjiInvest, his family office. This latest bequest has raised the bar for philanthropic donations in Asia and secured his position as one of the most large-hearted billionaires in the world.
About The Premji Azim Foundation initiatives
The education-focused philanthropic initiative launched by the Wipro chairman over a decade ago is focused on improving the quality of teachers in some of the country’s most remote locations and also runs the Azim Premji University in Bengaluru.
“All our activities are scaling up substantially,” Anurag Behar, chief executive officer of Azim Premji Foundation told the Economic Times. “The important point is that we need funds for eternity.”
The foundation will use the returns from Premji’s bequest, including dividends, to fund all activities, as well as new initiatives such as setting up a second university in North India.
For starters, the university in Bengaluru plans to increase intake of students by five times from the existing 1,500 every year. It will increase the field work in the most disadvantaged parts of Uttarakhand, Karnataka and Rajasthan to improve quality and equity in education.
“To whom much has been given, much should be expected.” — Azim Premji
It takes a bold mind like Azim Premji to commit so much
THE FOUNDATION WILL ALSO SET UP FUNDING TO OTHER NONPROFITS
The initiative to support other nonprofits by providing multi-year grants was started in 2014 and has helped the Premji foundation move beyond education, which is its primary focus. In the last five years, these grants have supported over 150 organisations engaged in a range of domains across India.
OTHER INDIAN BILLIONAIRES HAVE STEPPED UP THEIR PHILANTHROPIC GAME RECENTLY
Premji’s largesse has “stretched everybody’s target”, said Rohini Nilekani, who along with her husband, Infosys cofounder Nandan Nilekani, has committed half of their wealth to philanthropy.
“It takes a bold mind like Azim (Premji) to commit so much,” said Nilekani. “He will really be able to innovate and find ways to address increasingly complex societal problems in India.”
Apart from the Nilekanis, Biocon founder Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Symphony Group’s Romesh Wadhwani and realty tycoon PNC Menon have pledged part of their wealth to the Gates-inspired Giving Pledge.
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