Family Business

Engaging in philanthropic ventures as a family business


5 min




Watch the Raphaely family, a second-generation media and publishing business family based in Western Cape, South Africa, operating and producing international titles such as Cosmopolitan, O The Oprah Magazine, Good Housekeeping and Marie Claire as well as local titles including Goeie Huishouding and House and Leisure, share their view of the importance of embedding philanthropy and humanitarian efforts in their daily enterprise.


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Jane Raphaely: When it comes to donation, it is not enough just to sign a check. When you look at the biggest donors in the world, what I most admire about them, is the way that they have involved themselves in the causes they are subsidizing. And I think they are the role models for the rest of us, not in how much they give, but how much of themselves that they give.

Jane Raphaely: I believe in giving time as well as money, and in some instances, time can be more valuable than money, depending of course how you give it. In things to do with women, projects like Women Demand Dignity, Rape Crisis, any of the other structures that are set up to try and deal with women’s problems and help them to deal with them themselves and to change the circumstances ... View More from which these problems arise.

Julia Raphaely: My mother has had the name of Florence Nightingale in the past. She has always been a giver. She was known for her chicken soup. She always ran the business with a lot of care for the people involved in the business. She is very family oriented. And I think that is one of the most important qualities that she has given us as children. And for me, it is what makes me feel good when I can use the position that I am in now to bring our partners on board.

Jane Raphaely: I think that it is very important to be prepared to voice what you have to share, to be prepared to stand up and to be prepared to be counted because in all those areas where I think there are huge needs, one of the ongoing problems is the silence that surrounds them.

Julia Raphaely: I head up the CSI committee, which is a choice, because it is the only committee that I want to belong to and that I do belong to. It is really fun to look at all the different brands in our business, align those brands with different charities –there are a lot of opportunities in South Africa, never mind the world, to make a difference.

Julia Raphaely: I think integrity, charity, giving back, understanding your opportunity and making it work for you but also for the people who work in the business. It is not just a business decision. It is a decision about your own values and how you want to role those out. And when you are in a family business, you have the opportunity to do that. You only have to answer to yourself. As my father liked to say, you know, “You make your decisions in the shower.” The ultimate responsibility sometimes can be a heavy burden, but at the same time, you can be agile, you can be very responsive—and it is exciting, challenging, and special I think.

Jane Raphaely: For me, it is one of the great motivators. To have money is not to hoard it. To have money is to do something with it. I think that the greatest good and the greatest giving is to give to people who you will never meet and who will never know what you have done for them.