I believe those of us who are privileged should contribute significantly to try and create a better world: Noble words and noble deeds of Azim Premji

IT Czar and Wipro chairman Azim Premji opened his floodgates of wealth to philanthropy for the second time on Friday- but in a much bigger way. He transferred 12 per cent (295.5 million) of shares held by entities controlled by him and worth Rs.12,300 crore to an endowment trust headed by him.

The business tycoon, who is also the chairman of Azim Premji Foundation, donated 8.7 per cent of the total stock of Wipro from his personal stock- holding for philanthropy in 2010. Now, the trust’s shareholding in the company has increased to 19.93 per cent, a press release from the Foundation, set up in 2001, said.

The trust will utilise the endowment to fund various social initiatives of the Azim Premji Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation he set up in 2001, with a view to contributing to a just, equitable, humane and sustainable society in India.

“The initiatives are expected to scale significantly over the next few years,” the Foundation said in a statement in Bangalore.

In a letter for the first international Giving Pledge group, a US-based organisation that encourages the world’s wealthiest people to donate a majority of their wealth for charity, Premji had said on Tuesday that the Foundation has 800 people spread across the country, most of whom are working for the betterment of some of the most disadvantaged regions of the country, and others at the Azim Premji University in Bangalore.

The Foundation plans to scale up to 4,000- 5,000 people over the next five years, Premji had further said. ” The developments of the past two years have given me confidence in our scaled up and institutional strategy.

Even as we execute this strategy, I am aware that ensuring stable funding source is critical for its success. I am committed to transferring more of my wealth to scale up the Endowment of the Foundation,” he added.

“I strongly believe that those of us who are privileged to have wealth should contribute significantly to try and create a better world for the millions who are far less privileged. I will continue to act on this belief.” The Foundation works in rural area with cooperation of state governments to help improve the quality and equity of school education. Its activities are spread across Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Puducherry, Rajasthan and Uttarkhand.

In 1966, Premji dropped out from his studies at Stanford on his father’s untimely death ( though he completed his engineering degree in 2000) and came back to India to run the small family business. ” As Wipro became a globally successful IT Services firm, I began to seriously consider what I should do with my wealth, which had accrued from the success and market capitalisation of the company,” Premji further added.

” I became convinced that markets, public systems and philanthropic initiatives all had a significant role to play if the country was to have inclusive development, and that we needed to work purposefully towards establishing a more humane, equitable and ethical society for all our citizens.”

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