The Joel family’s association with South Africa dates back to the 1870s when Jim Joel’s father JB (Jack) Joel and his two brothers arrived in Kimberley to seek their fortune. Together they were highly successful and by the end of the century had significant diamond and gold mining interests as well as investments throughout South Africa in real estate, infrastructure and industry.
Jim Joel, who had first visited South Africa as a young man, maintained close links with the country throughout his long life and was a regular visitor up until shortly before his death in 1992 at the age of 97. A few years before he died, he established The Childwick Trust, a charitable settlement.
Recognising the importance that South Africa had played in his and his family’s life, he specified that one of its objects would be to promote education in South Africa.
Operating in South Africa under the name, the Jim Joel Fund, the Trustees of The Childwick Trust realised early on in South Africa’s transition to democracy that in order to mitigate against long term cycles of poverty, poor educational achievement, ill health, inequality and other socio-economic challenges, it needed to invest in the lives of very young children. The Trustees believe that this is where the foundation for future well-being, and the future of South Africa, is established.