The Walter Kaitz Foundation drew about 1,400 people to its annual benefit dinner Wednesday night, translating to some $1.4 million to fund organizations working to help women and people of color to find jobs and advance to top management positions in the cable industry.
The proceeds -- from sale of tables, tickets and sponsorships -- topped last year’s take by more than $100,000, according to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, which oversees the foundation.
Money goes to three “diversity-partner” organizations: the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications, Women in Cable & Telecommunications and the Emma L. Bowen Foundation for Minority Interests in Media.
Spencer Kaitz -- son of Walter Kaitz, the late California cable lobbyist in whose memory the foundation was created in 1981 -- was the dinner’s honoree.
In his remarks, he said that about 500 individuals’ careers had benefited from the foundation’s efforts over the years, adding that if cable management better reflected the diverse population of potential customers, cable would be in better competitive shape against satellite-TV and telephone providers.
“If we do not make the choice to join the 21st century, our competitors will,” he said.
The dinner was the first for Kaitz executive director Debbie Smith, who was hired in April.