The T. Howard Foundation's 10th annual fundraising dinner on May 19 raised a record $500,000 to help fund minority-placement efforts.
Under the tutelage of former Black Entertainment Television executive Curtis Symonds, the T. Howard Foundation will place nearly 60 college students in internship opportunities within DBS and cable companies this summer. That's nearly a three-fold increase over 2002's intern list, Symonds said.
"I think that [the dinner] was the beginning of the future, and an opportunity for the industry to see with its own eyes young people of color appreciating the value of working within this business," Symonds said.
Over nearly a decade, T. Howard has recruited nearly 150 students from various colleges around the country — including historically black colleges and universities — for summer internships.
T. Howard's hope is that most of those students will eventually land a job within the industry, but the foundation has thus far only been able to place 10% of those students.
The dinner, which drew a record 500 attendees to Cipriani restaurant here, honored the late DBS pioneer and T. Howard namesake H. Taylor Howard, who was killed in a plane crash last year.
In recognition of Howard, the foundation announced the formation of a new scholarship award named after the satellite pioneer and given to an undergraduate or graduate student person of color majoring in engineering, said organization executives.
Also honored during the black tie affair, hosted by CNN co-anchor Leon Harris, was former AOL Time Warner Inc. vice chairman Ted Turner, who lauded the foundation's efforts supporting diversity within the satellite and cable employment ranks.
Turner said he hopes to make a fortune from his new Ted's Montana Grill bison-meat restaurants "to replace the one I lost," an apparent referral to the approximately $9 billion Turner has lost due to the tanking AOL Time Warner stock.
He also jokingly told the Howard interns that if they can't find jobs within the cable industry, they could come out to work at his a chain of eight eateries.