The Leadership

Victor Civita, President of the Foundation since 2013

Victor Civita Neto

“Good teachers teach respect for others, support and inspire thousands of people’s lives.”

After the death of his father, Roberto Civita, Victor Civita Neto took over as president Fundação Victor Civita, and embarked on a mission to continue contributing to the improvement of Brazilian Education.

In 1989, he graduated with a degree in Political Science from Columbia University. In 1990, he joined Grupo Abril as Director of Programming and Production at MTV, responsible for implementing the TV station in Brazil. From 1992 to 2002, he was also Director of Programming and Production at TVA and Vice President of Editora Abril’s Youth Division.

From 2005 to 2010, he served as Vice President of Digital Initiatives for Grupo Abril. His endeavors include The Music of Brazil series and launching Grupo Abril’s e-commerce projects. Victor Civita Neto was President of the Editorial Committee at Editora Abril.

Who was Roberto Civita

Roberto Civita

“A good education is absolutely essential to teaching people how to think.”

Roberto Civita was responsible for carrying on the legacy of his father, Victor, in the defense of education. In addition to helping make his company the largest publisher in the country, Civita devoted more than half a century of his career to his passion for magazine editing, and never wavered on his ethical position or commitment to the reader.

In 1990, he took over as President of the foundation maintained by his family, Abril, Gerdau, and their partners. A visionary, he was steadfast in his commitment to improve Brazilian education and fought for it long before the topic took on the importance it has today.

Under his command, Fundação Victor Civita (FVC) expanded its reach, moving forward to support educators with initiatives in training, appreciation and research. GESTÃO ESCOLAR (School Management) and NOVA ESCOLA (New School) are the two biggest education magazines in Brazil today. The site has more than 1 million unique visitors per month. The Victor Civita Prêmio Educador Nota 10 (Grade A Educator Award) has become the most recognized educational award in the country, and its Studies and Research arm has already sponsored 15 inquiries into issues fundamental in advancing education.

Dr. Roberto, as he was known, kept a close eye on all of these initiatives, and recognizing the vital importance of teachers’ work was a constant throughout all of his actions. As highlighted during the first edition of the Victor Civita Prêmio Educador Nota 10 (Grade A Educator Award) in 1998: “This is a contribution to the critical process of identifying and recognizing teachers who serve as examples, and whose work deserves to be and must be known, expanded, and reproduced.”

In 2011, he gained international recognition with the Education Leadership Award, an award given by Worldfund to entrepreneurs who stood out for their contribution to Latin American education. He died in May of 2013, at the age of 76. Read an article in his memory published by the Observatório da Imprensa. 

Who was Victor Civita

Victor Civita (1907-1990)

“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.

Read the text by José Reinaldo Marques in O Observatório da Imprensa on The centenary of the founder of Editora Abril and another about Victor Civita and the 25 years of Veja São Paulo.