Kaitz Dinner Raises $1.7 Million For Cable Diversity Programs


NEW YORK--The 25th annual Walter Kaitz Foundation fundraising dinner here last night raised more than $1.7 million for various cable industry programs promoting diversity.

All told, more than 1,300 cable executives gathered at the New York Hilton for the cocktail party, dinner and reception that honored U.S. Rep. Joe Baca (D. Calif.), Bright House Networks and Scripps Networks for their efforts to champion diversity.

The funds generated from the dinner, which matched last year’s total, help fuel the activities of the Walter Kaitz Foundation's diversity efforts, along with three industry-based organizations with programs and activities designed to prepare people of color and women for executive positions in the cable industry through skills training, mentorship, internship and professional development: the Emma L. Bowen Foundation, the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications and Women in Cable Telecommunications.

Hosted by Ingrid Hoffman, celebrity chef of Food Network’s Simply Delicioso, the dinner was co-chaired by Philip Kent, chairman & CEO of Turner Broadcasting System and Michael Willner, Vice Chairman & CEO of Insight Communications.  The co-chairs presented Bright House Networks and Scripps Networks with the Diversity Champion Award, an honor bestowed on individuals or organizations that act as catalysts for diversity within their respective organizations, or throughout the industry

CNN anchor Rick Sanchez presented U.S.Baca (D-CA) with the Diversity Advocate Award, which is bestowed on a person outside the industry who has demonstrated unwavering commitment to diversity.

The occasion also marked the final time the dinner will be held in New York

“For 25 years, the annual Walter Kaitz Foundation fundraising dinner has been a cornerstone of the cable industry,” said David Porter, Executive Director of the Walter Kaitz Foundation. “I want to thank the entire industry again for their tremendous support. While this marks the end of our yearly tradition of holding the dinner in New York, we hope the industry will continue to support the important work the Foundation does on behalf of women and people of color within the cable industry as we move to Denver in 2009.”

The organization’s fundraising dinner is slated to be held Oct. 28, 2009, as part of the industry’s initial  “Cable Connections" weeks. The first is scheduled from April 1-7 next year in Washington, D.C., with the second set for Oct.25-30, 2009 in the Mile High City.