Azim Premji, the second richest man in India, earmarked more of his wealth for charitable causes on Wednesday, reaffirming his position as the most philanthropic Indian. The chairman of India's third largest IT company, Wipro, said he was giving away an additional 34 percent of his shares in Wipro. Premji's latest contribution is worth Rs 52,750 crore. This will be moved to an endowment under the Azim Premji Foundation, the firm said in an exchange filing.
With this, the total value of the philanthropic endowment corpus contributed by Premji stands at Rs 1,45,000 crore, or approximately $21 billion. This includes 67 percent of economic ownership of Wipro Limited. "To enable this vision, the Azim Premji Foundation works directly in education and supports other not-for-profits working in some specific areas through multi-year financial grants," Wipro said in a press release. The Foundation's extensive fieldwork in education has been in some of the most disadvantaged parts of India, to help contribute to the improvement of quality and equity of the public (government) schooling system.
All this work has been in close partnership with various state governments. Currently, this field work is spread across Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Puducherry, Telangana, and Madhya Pradesh, along with some work in the north-eastern states of India. The Foundation's field strategy focuses on creating and scaling up a network of institutions at the District and State levels, to contribute to improvement in the school education system on a continued and sustained basis.
As part of its overall strategy, the Foundation has also set up the Azim Premji University in Bengaluru. The university has been established with a clear social purpose of developing outstanding professionals in the domains of education and related areas of human development for the entire nation. The university does this by offering various kinds of degree programs, education programs, and conducting research in various fields of human development and social importance.
The initiative to support other not-for-profits by providing multi-year grants was started in 2014 by the Foundation. This enabled the expansion of its philanthropic efforts to domains other than education that are crucial to contributing towards its vision. The grants support efforts of partners that directly or indirectly help create tangible improvements in the lives of deeply disadvantaged, under-served and marginalized sections of our society. In the last five years, these grants have supported over 150 organisations engaged in a range of domains across India.
"Over the next several years, the activities of the Foundation are expected to scale up significantly. The team driving the field work in education is expected to grow significantly from the current 1600 people, while the University will expand to have 5000 students with 400 faculty members across multiple programs. Thereafter, another University in the northern part of India may be set up by the Foundation. The grant-making activities will also continue to expand rapidly, growing three times from its current levels, supporting good work across multiple domains of social importance in India. Overall, this strategy and its expansion aim to contribute meaningfully to developing a more just, equitable, humane and sustainable society in India," said the company.