Giving Pledge signatory Azim Premji, chair of multinational software and IT services provider Wipro and founder of the Azim Premji Foundation, has announced that he has donated Wipro shares worth $7.5 billion to the foundation's endowment.
The commitment — representing approximately 34 percent of the Wipro shares controlled by Premji — brings to $21 billion the amount Premji has given or set aside for charity, including 67 percent of his shares in Wipro. With the mission of helping develop "a just, equitable, humane, and sustainable society," the Premji Foundation has worked since 2000 to improve the quality and equity of public education in India by creating and scaling a network of organizations in rural areas of the country and establishing Azim Premji University, which offers a range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs. In addition, the foundation's non-education grantmaking programs have awarded multiyear grants to more than a hundred and fifty nonprofits serving disadvantaged segments of Indian society.
The foundation plans to ramp up its activities over the next few years and anticipates tripling the amount of its grantmaking while significantly increasing the size of its education fieldwork team, which currently numbers sixteen hundred. Plans are also in the works to increase enrollment at the university to five thousand students and increase the size of the faculty to four hundred across multiple departments and programs, with the possibility of a second campus being added in northern India.