Giving back to the countries where Graff sources its stones was the inspiration behind Facet (For Africa’s Children Every Time), the charity established by chairman Laurence Graff in 2008. To date, $1.5m has been raised for communities in sub-Saharan Africa, including a Graff Leadership Centre in Lesotho built to tackle issues relating to HIV, illiteracy and skills development, and a centre in Botswana offering educational and psychological support to vulnerable children and orphans aged 12 to 18. Funds are raised through both direct donations and auctions – such as a 2011 sale of works by South African artists that raised R1.4m (about £78,500) – as well as the discretionary donations added to every bill at the restaurant at Delaire Graff Estate, Laurence Graff’s winery and boutique hotel in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Worldwide forest conservation, with a particular focus on environmental protection and youth awareness, are the crux of the Audemars Piguet Foundation. Established in 1992, it currently finances around 80 projects in 36 countries, including training young farmers and reforesting land in Brazil and working with a network of non-profits in Nainital in the Himalayas to replant 25,000 trees and shrubs alongside rosemary plants that generate revenue for local farmers. Closer to home, in Switzerland, it helped plant trees in Miécourt after 1999’s Hurricane Lothar destroyed 800 native fruit trees and threatened the biodiversity of the Ajoie orchards.
Patek Philippe creates one-off timepieces for charitable initiatives, such as the titanium version of its 5004T model that raised €2.95m for muscular dystrophy at the 2013 Only Watch Auction in Monaco. In 2012, another specially created watch fetched SFr1m (about £650,000) for Children Action. The Swiss charitable foundation provides care for children, such as corrective surgical operations in Cameroon and Vietnam and teenage suicide prevention in Switzerland.
The Ralph Lauren Pink Pony Campaign was launched in 2000 in the US to raise funds to fight cancer – with a particular focus on medically under-served communities – and it has since supported charities in some 20 countries. In addition to dedicated products whereby a portion of sales benefits charities, Ralph Lauren cancer centres have also been established, including a unit in Harlem, New York, that has cared for more than 100,000 patients and around 14,000 uninsured individuals to date, and a new breast-cancer research facility in London’s Royal Marsden hospital that was announced in May. In October, the Pink Pony effort took to social media: the brand donated $10 to cancer-related causes for every picture tagged with #PinkPonyPromise and will pledge up to $1m. Other philanthropic causes Ralph Lauren supports include literacy – from August to December 2014, 25 per cent of profits from a special children’s capsule collection will be donated to UK charity Booktrust and other global charities – and in 1998, it donated $13m to the conservation of the original American flag, the Star-Spangled Banner.
Yacht company Y.CO takes an integrated approach to supporting marine conservation, namely through its association with Blue Marine Foundation, which aims to increase the area of protected oceans from 2.2 to 10 per cent by 2020. The company made an initial €25,000 donation in 2012 and has subsequently offered clients the chance to make an opt-in contribution to Blue when booking a Y.CO charter, as well as launching a club scheme for crew and superyacht-industry professionals whereby an annual membership fee – €120 for crew, €1,200 for corporates – goes directly to the foundation. In return, members receive discounts in superyacht hubs and on a range of products and services, from clothing to crew training. Y.CO has also raised more than €150,000 for UK navy charity Special Boat Service Association and over £100,000 for healthcare charity WellChild, contributing to a €1m overall total the company has raised for charity since 2004.
The Rolex Awards for Enterprise highlight innovation in areas such as science and health, exploration and cultural heritage; Laureates receive a grant of SFr100,000 (about £65,000), while Young Laureates aged 18 to 30 receive about £32,500. Winning projects this year include a programme to raise awareness of antibiotic resistance and develop faster diagnostic tests, and another to take an expedition into ancient quartzite caves in South America to study geo-microbiological environments. The arts are also key to Rolex’s philanthropic vision. Its Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, launched in 2002, unites young artists with great masters for a year’s mentoring. Past participants have included David Hockney and protégé Matthias Weischer, and Margaret Atwood and Naomi Alderman (pictured). Protégés are granted about £16,250, plus £16,250 for the creation of new work, while mentors receive an honorarium of about £48,750.