New York -- The Walter Kaitz Foundation’s annual fund-raising dinner here Wednesday night collected more than $1.5 million in donations, up 9% from $1.4 million in 2004, to aid efforts to diversify the cable-TV work force with more people of color and women executives.Proceeds go to three "diversity partner" organizations with programs and activities that help to prepare people of color and women for executive positions in the cable industry -- the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications, Women in Cable & Telecommunications and The Emma L. Bowen Foundation for Minority Interests in Media.The National Cable & Telecommunications Association, which oversees the foundation, said nearly 1,600 people attended the event at a crowded New York Hilton ballroom.
The dinner honored several “diversity champions and advocates,” including Time Warner Cable chairman and CEO Glenn Britt and three senior executives at Katrina-weary Cox Communications Inc.: senior vice president and chief people officer Mae Douglas, senior VP of legal and regulatory affairs James Hatcher and VP of materials management Sherryl Love. Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, was also an honoree.
Jim Robbins, who is retiring this year as Cox’s CEO, paid tribute at the dinner to the approximately 1,000 Cox employees who were significantly affected by Katrina, including in the MSO’s New Orleans system, where 73 employees remain unaccounted for.
Robbins said, “We fear that as many as 400 Cox employees may have lost everything.”
He made a plea for donations to the NCTA’s recently established Cable Hope Fund, which will provide direct aid to cable employees at Cox and other companies affected by the Katrina disaster. Envelopes made out to the fund were on tables at the Kaitz dinner.
The NCTA has previously said that checks can be made payable to Cable Hope Fund and sent to the NCTA, care of David Pierce, senior director, public affairs, at 1724 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C., 20036.
The Cable Hope Fund was incorporated as a nonprofit corporation, and it will be filing with the Internal Revenue Service to assure its status as a 501(c) (3) entity and the tax deductibility of contributions it receives. More information can be found at NCTA.com (www.ncta.com).
Comcast Corp. chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said at the dinner that he and other individuals had collectively donated $500,000 to the Cable Hope Fund in Robbins’ name.