Azim Premji, the Chairman of the Wipro conglomerate headquartered in Bangalore, India, announced that he will donate a further 34 per cent of the shares of his company to support philanthropic activities. This amounts to around $7.5 billion and is the most generous donation in the history of India. With this deed, the total philanthropic endowment corpus contributed by Premji rose to a whopping $21 billion, cementing his place amongst the most magnanimous and influential philanthropists across the world that include Warren Buffett, George Soros, and Bill Gates.
These funds have been earmarked and irrevocably renounced to the Azim Premji Foundation, an eponymous non-profit organization founded by Premji in 2000. It has primarily been working in rural areas of India to improve the quality of education. Furthermore, the foundation supports over 150 other non-profit organizations that serve the less privileged and marginalized sections of the society. The foundation has also funded the Azim Premji University in Bangalore, which today has over one thousand students. With this grant, the foundation plans to expand to over five thousand students with over 400 faculty members. It also intends to establish another university in north India.
Premji, also called the czar of the Indian IT industry, has always been renowned for his philanthropic deeds. In 2014, he became the first Indian to sign the Giving Pledge. This is an initiative by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates formed in 2010 to encourage the world’s wealthiest to donate towards charity.
Premji is one of the richest people in India and has often said that Mahatma Gandhi has been his inspiration.