Victor Civita (1907-1990) (FVC/FVC)
“An educated people is a rich and a strong people, because they know how to produce and to prosper.”
Victor Civita was one of the most successful businessmen in Brazil’s recent history. Persistent and bold, he created Brazil’s magazine business and founded Brazil’s largest publishing group – Editora Abril.
The child of Italian immigrants, he was born on February 9, 1907 in New York City. Married to Sylvana Alcorso, his wife until the end, and father to two sons (Roberto and Richard), Victor Civita moved to Brazil in 1949 with one dream: create a magazine publishing house. Against all advice and negative speculation, he decided to set up his company in São Paulo, hardly the prestigious rival to Rio de Janeiro that it is today.
Editora Abril was born in 1950 with a single magazine in its catalog: the Brazilian version of the “Donald Duck” comic book. In the years to come, the company launched a series of highly successful titles such as Capricho, Quatro Rodas, Veja, and Exame, thus creating the magazine publishing market. Described by his friends as a visionary and tireless go-getter, he founded more than a dozen other companies, from a hotel group to a refrigerator business.
In 1985, he created Fundação Victor Civita, whose purpose was to fight for a country where schools, good teachers, incentives to the teaching career, and educational support materials weren’t hard to come by. In March 1986, the Foundation began to publish NOVA ESCOLA, another lifelong dream of Mr. Victor (as he was known by Abril employees). An editorial in its first issue outlined the goals that inspired the publication: “To provide teachers with information necessary for their self-improvement; to appreciate them; to resurrect their prestige and position as leaders in the community; to integrate them into the processes of change occurring in the country; and to promote experience and knowledge exchange among all first-rate Brazilian teachers.”
Victor Civita died on August 24, 1990 in São Paulo. In one of the notes he left his children regarding his posthumous wishes, he stated that all the money from his bank accounts, stocks, or personal assets should revert to the Foundation. The children, who already had companies of their own, wouldn’t receive a dime. “If you fail to live off the companies you have, then you don’t deserve them,” he decreed. Sylvana made an addendum to that same text explaining that the order to allocate personal assets to the Foundation also include her jewels. And so it was done.
See a full (and fascinating) bio on Victor Civita written by Roberto Pompeu de Toledo for Editora Abril’s 50-year commemorative edition. Click here to download the PDF.