New York -- The cable industry raised $1.7 million for efforts to increase the diversity of executives and workers it employs, according to Glenn Britt, the chief executive of Time Warner Cable.
The funds will allow cable operators and programmers to increase the “fairness and inclusion” of their organizations, Britt said.
Britt’s comments came at the outset of the Walter Kaitz Foundation Annual Fundraising Dinner.
The last two years, the dinner raised a reported $1.5 million each.
The funds benefit The Emma Bowen Foundation, the National Association of Multi-ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) and Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT). In turn, the programs of these organizations enable minority high school students to receive paid job-training and support within the cable industry; allow individuals from unusual backgrounds to participate in leadership development programs; and provide mentoring to women and minorities.
ESPN, the sports network, was presented the Diversity Champion Award for actively educating its staff on diversity issues, setting an example on how to hire and manage a diverse work force and for covering athletes of all backgrounds with live coverage and with behind-the-scenes reporting. The award was presented by tennis star Serena Williams.
Fans and athletes come in “every shape and form possible,” said ESPN president George Bodenheimer, in accepting the award. And encouraging diversity in its coverage and in its operations is now a “living and breathing part of the mission and values of our company,” he said.
The Diversity Advocate Award went to New York Rep. Edolphus Townes, from the 10th Congressional District in Brooklyn. The award was presented by Martin Luther King III, the eldest son of civil rights advocate Martin Luther King Jr. and head of an organization, Realizing the Dream, whose name echoes his father’s most famous speech.
Kaitz Foundation executive director David M. Porter Jr. said next year's dinner has already been scheduled, for Wednesday, Sept. 17, again at the New York Hilton.