Wipro’s billionaire chairman Azim Premji, who will turn 70 this month, controls a 73.39% stake in India’s third-largest software company, which is worth about Rs 99,500 crore (approx 15 billion dollars). In Wipro’s annual report for the year ended March 2015, Premji mentioned he has now allocated the equivalent of 39% of the company’s shares to a trust focused on philanthropic initiatives, mainly primary education. The additional 18% stake forms the latest tranche of shares Premji has allocated for charity
Premji, is the first Indian to sign the Giving Pledge, has set aside more than half of his wealth for charity by allocating an additional 18% stake in the company to fund philanthropy.
The Giving Pledge is an effort to invite the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to commit half of their wealth to philanthropic causes and charitable organisations. In his pledge in 2013, Premji said he believes that those who are privileged to have wealth should contribute significantly to try and create a better world for the millions who are far less privileged.
People close to Premji said he has been quietly and steadily been transferring wealth to fund philanthropy. He has two engines to carry on philanthropy—the Azim Premji Foundation, and the newly formed Philanthropic Initiatives formed to making grants to NGOs.
“The new initiative of making grants to NGOs has just started under what we call Philanthropic Initiatives. We are continuing to look at various areas, e.g., nutrition, water — the only area that we have decided on is support to NGOs working with the most vulnerable people — eg, street children, urban homeless, teenage girls from disadvantaged communities, women at risk of violence,” said Anurag Behar, CEO of Azim Premji Foundation and vice-chancellor of Azim Premji University.
Wish, India has more billionaires who like Premji, taking the Giving Pledge to contribute to the needy!