With $21 Billion, Azim Premji among world’s top philanthropists. Giving. Good news!

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Senior Member
Dec 31, 2015
Azim Premji, India’s most generous billionaire, has announced a fresh bequest to his eponymous philanthropic initiative boosting his total commitment to Rs 1,45,000 crore ($21 billion), making it one of the five largest private endowments in the world and the biggest in Asia.

This has cemented the 73-year old billionaire’s place alongside the world’s most influential philanthropists including Bill Gates, George Soros and Warren Buffett.

On Wednesday, Premji announced that all earnings from approximately 34% of the shares of India’s fourth largest software services exporter Wipro Limited, worth about Rs 52,750 Crores($7.5 billion), held by certain entities controlled by him, would be transferred to the endowment that supports the Azim Premji Foundation.

So far, Premji has committed earnings from 67% of Wipro Limited to the charitable foundation. The Premji family and entities controlled by them hold a 74.30% stake in the software exporter.

The 73-year old billionaire’s largesse has “stretched everybody’s target” said Rohini Nilekani who along with her husband Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani has committed half 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.”

Premji’s announcement comes at a critical moment for Indian philanthropy. The Indian Philanthropy Report released last week by Bain & Company, estimated that excluding donations by the Bengaluru–based software mogul, donations of Rs 10 crore and above have declined by 4% in India since 2014. Even as the proportion of the ultra-rich, those with a net worth of over $50 million, grew by 12%.

“Premji’s grant for the nation matches only what Jamshedji Tata and Dorabji Tata have done from a historical perspective," said Amit Chandra, managing director of Bain Capital.

”Over the last 150 years, he stands out remarkably tall, for what he has really done in the last 10 years,” Chandra said.

The education-focused philanthropic initiative launched by the 73-year old Wipro chairman, over a decade ago, is focused on improving the quality of teachers in some of the country’s most remote locations and runs the Azim Premji University in Bengaluru.

“All our activities are scaling up substantially,” said Anurag Behar, chief executive officer of Azim Premji foundation “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, including new initiatives such as the establishment of a second university in North India.

For starters, the university in Bengaluru plans to increase the intake of students by five times from the existing 1,500 students every year. It will increase the fieldwork in the most disadvantaged parts of Uttarakhand, Karnataka, and Rajasthan to improve quality and equity in education. The foundation will also step up funding to other nonprofits.

The initiative to support other not-for-profits 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 organizations engaged in a range of domains across India.

Deval Sanghavi, co-founder of Dasra, a venture philanthropy fund said “the large commitment by Premji will help smaller donors who don’t have the capacity to do research or build capability (can) create impact by co-funding such initiatives,” said Sanghavi.

In recent years, more Indian billionaires have stepped up to increase their giving. Apart from the Nilekanis, Biocon founder Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Symphony Group’s Romesh Wadhwani and realty tycoon PNC Menon have pledged half their wealth to the Gates- inspired Giving Pledge.

“It is hugely inspirational to each and every Indian, billionaire, millionaire and ordinary Indians. Even if we have do not have an exceptional amount of wealth I think we have time to give, services to give for building a better India,’ said Bain’s Chandra.


Senior Member
Nov 24, 2012
I can't help thinking...

Matthew 16:26 NKJV
[26] For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?