In an extraordinary act of generosity, Azim Premji declared that he will give his company shares worth 7.5 billion dollars to charity work. But who is this man and why did he donate so much?
Bio: Speaking in a more formal sense, Premji is the chairman of Wipro Limited. So, he is a business tycoon and a philanthropist. To add, he is also known as the Czar of Indian IT Industry.
Coming from an engineering background, Premji left studies after his father’s death. His father, too, was a successful businessman. He is driving his company Wipro since last four decades.
Riches: Premji is the second richest person in the country with a total worth of 21.9 Billion dollars. That amount of US dollars equals to One Lakh Fifty-Two Thousand Five Hundred Crore Indian Rupees.
According to Wikipedia, In 2010, he was voted among the 20 most powerful men in the world by Asiaweek. He has twice been listed among the 100 most influential people by TIME Magazine, once in 2004 and more recently in 2011.
The Azim Premji foundation: The foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that has been working since 2000 with the elementary education system in rural government schools.
In its About page, the foundation claims that the primary goal of the Foundation is to contribute to a society that is “a just, equitable, humane and sustainable society” as envisaged in the Constitution of India. Towards this goal, we have identified education as a critical area that has a direct impact on the economic, social and cultural development of the nation.
Philanthropy: His philanthropy started from the origin of The Azim Premji Foundation in 2001. He is making heavy donations in the foundation as per the requirements. But the main phase of his charity work started by signing up The Giving Pledge.
a) The Giving Pledge: It is an effort to help address society’s most pressing problems by inviting the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to commit more than half of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes either during their lifetime or in their will.
In August 2010, 40 of America’s wealthiest individuals and couples joined together in a commitment to give more than half of their wealth away. Created by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett, the Giving Pledge came to life following a series of conversations with philanthropists around the world about how they could collectively set a new standard of generosity among the ultra-wealthy.
b) Azim’s contribution: In his letter in the Giving Pledge, Azim wrote: “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.”
In 2013, Azim donated 2.2 Billion dollars after he signed up in the pledge.
Now, Azim has donated the most in Indian History. “With this action, the total value of the philanthropic endowment corpus contributed by Mr. Premji is $21 billion, which includes 67% of economic ownership of Wipro.”