Kaitz Foundation Announces New Grants

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The Walter Kaitz Foundation unveiled a second round of grants aimed at fostering more cable-industry employment diversity during its annual dinner here last Wednesday night.

NAMIC, Women In Cable & Telecommunications and the Emma Bowen Foundation for Minority Interest in Media will each have another Kaitz grant coming their way.

This time around, NAMIC's grant is earmarked for its L. Patrick Mellon Mentorship Program, named after the late ESPN senior executive; WICT's allotment will support a new study of women of color in cable; and Emma Bowen's portion will help expand that group's activities.

In the first round, NAMIC and WICT used the Kaitz grants to support their Executive Leadership Development Program and WICT Forum, respectively.

Grants also were directed at New California Media, for an outreach effort on the availability of ethnic media for various projects; and the Southern California Indian Center, for a content-creation and production training program for Native Americans.

The foundation has awarded about $600,000 in grants so far. About $315,800 was distributed in the first round of funding earlier this year.

Additional grant proposals are under review and several will be set up in the coming months, Kaitz Foundation president Art Torres said in remarks at the dinner.

More than 1,500 people attended the foundation's dinner Wednesday, raising $1.4 million for future grants and diversity initiatives.

The dinner's honoree — who was to be honored last year, before the Sept. 13 event had to be canceled — was Comcast Corp. president Brian Roberts. In his remarks, he urged operators and programmers to continue to innovate and grow despite the "market malaise" of mistrust afflicting stocks.

Cable must also address declining customer satisfaction, even though some of the difficulty stemmed from the demise of Internet-service provider Excite@Home Corp. he said.

Roberts recalled remarks made by his father — Comcast chairman Ralph Roberts — when he was honored by Kaitz a dozen years ago: Bigotry is "a disease that keeps eluding solution."

Comcast is committed to diversity as a principle and as good business, he said.

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