In the early 1960s, the Sagara sub-division consisting of Sagara, Soraba, and Hosanagara talukas had no institutional facility whatsoever for youngsters aspiring to further their education beyond SSLC. This forced a substantial number of students, particularly girls and those from underprivileged sections, to curtail their academic pursuits at the high school level itself. In 1963-64, some leaders from the three talukas, desiring to address this problem, came together to establish an education society under the name “Sagara Prantya Vidyavardhaka Sangha”. Freedom fighter and ex-MP, Sri K G Odeyar, was the founder-President of the Sangha, and Sri K H Srinivasa its founder- General Secretary. The society began its initiative with a pre-university college, which was run in a building rented from the Ganapathi Bank, Sagara. The other promoters of the society were the then Legislative Council Member and ex-Minister Sri A R Badarinarayana, the then MLA Sri V S Laxmikanthappa, ex-Minister and the present Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Sri Kagodu Thimmappa, ex-MLA Sri L T Timmappa Hegde, Sri G N Pai, Sri H L Veerabhadrappa Gowda, Sri Maruru Rudrappa Gowda, Sri Tumbe Subbarao, Sri T Mahabaleshwara Bhat, Sri B Srinivas Bhat, Sri H D Mallappa, Sri G D Mahabalagiriyappa, and Sri K V Subbanna, writer and Magsaysay Awardee. The well-known Kannada poet, Sri Gopalakrishna Adiga was the first Principal of the college.
After the demise of Sri K G Odeyar in 1965, the founder-General Secretary Sri K H Srinivasa became the President of the education society. Except for a few years in between, he has been in this position continuously for more than two decades now, and has been responsible for developing the institution to its present state. A legislator for over twenty years, during which period he was also minister for some time, he has also had stints as Leader of the Opposition, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Chairman of a number of Boards and Corporations, through all of which he has gained immense experience. Interested as much in poetics as in politics, Sri Srinivasa has been recognised as a good poet, writer, and translator in Kannada literature.
Extending its field of work over the Shivamogga district in later years, the Sagara Prantya Vidyavardhaka Sangha came to acquire in 1975 a new name – Malnad Development Foundation (R) or Malenadu Abhivriddhi Prathishthana in Kannada.
The Malnad Development Foundation has 54 acres of land on its Tarapura campus and another 20 acres elsewhere in the town. It has all the potential and the infrastructure to establish and manage many more institutions like the ones listed above. The latest addition to our assets, Devaraj Arasu Kalakshetra, a state-of-the-art auditorium located on the Tarapura campus, was recently inaugurated by Sri Siddaramaiah, Honourable Chief Minister of Karnataka. Other infrastructural assets like the building of the Prof. Nariboli College of Education, and an UGC-aided outdoor and indoor stadium are fast nearing completion.
At present, more than 3000 students are receiving education in the various institutions managed by the MDF. And more than 45,000 have passed out from them over these five decades. A significant number of them have earned distinction at the higher levels, and have gone on to occupy important positions in various sectors both inside India and abroad.