Giving Pledger Azim Premji Puts $2.3 Billion Into Foundation Trust

Giving Pledger Azim Premji Puts $2.3 Billion Into Foundation Trust

The Azim Premji Foundation in Bangalore, India, has announced that its board chair, Azim Premji, has donated an estimated $2.3 billion worth of shares in Wipro, the IT consulting and outsourcing firm he chairs, to a trust that controls the foundation.

Premji, the first Indian to sign the Giving Pledge, a campaign initiated by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates to increase charitable giving by the world's wealthiest families and individuals, transferred 295.5 million shares of his Wipro stock to the trust. The donation follows a 2010 transfer by Premji of 213 million Wipro shares, then valued at nearly $2 billion, to the trust. Income from the trust will be used to scale the foundation's social initiatives over the next few years.

Created in 2001, the Premji Foundation works mainly in rural India in partnership with government to improve the quality of education. To date, the foundation has established a university for the poor in Bangalore, state-level institutes in three states and district-level institutes in seven districts, and six demonstration schools.

Over the next five years, the foundation plans to fund an expansion of the university, which currently offers master's programs in education and development, to serve thirty-five hundred students. It also will work to establish up to sixty district-level and eight state-level institutions and a hundred demonstration schools, while increasing its staff from eight hundred to four thousand.

Dhanya Ann Thoppil. "India's Premji Gives $2.3 Billion to Charity." Wall Street Journal 02/22/2013. "Announcement by Azim Premji Foundation." Azim Premji Foundation Press Release 02/22/2013.