Set in April 2014, this case explores some of the important questions confronting Dileep Ranjekar and Anurag Behar, CEOs of the Azim Premji Foundation, which had entered the second decade of its existence with fresh plans and renewed vigor. Ranjekar and Behar had evolved an organizational strategy, after carefully reflecting on the Foundation's past work, that was characterized by the idea of working in an "institutional" mode and not merely in a "programmatic" mode. This meant establishing a long-term presence in the places where the Foundation worked (i.e., disadvantaged districts in the country), and engaging on a continuous and long-term basis with the public education system to facilitate change.
Given the trajectory that the management team had set for the Foundation, it was constantly faced with issues related to finding the right people with the required skill sets and mindset, finding field staff to overcome the challenges of working in difficult, far-flung places, and scaling up at the right speed to achieve the desired reach and outcomes. Documenting the evolution and growth of the Foundation, the case brings to light some of the key challenges it faced in scaling up. The case highlights some of the challenges of building a large, professionally managed not-for-profit and the strategic decisions that have to be made to grow it into a sustainable organization.
The case would fit well in courses at the MBA level and in other Master's and executive level programs on business strategy, nonprofit management, education management and service management. The case introduces the reader to the structural, monetary, capacity and human resource related concerns and, to some extent, the legal concerns of nonprofits and the restrictions they face when they plan the scaling up of their organizations.