Kaitz Dinner Takes In $1.4M

The Walter Kaitz Foundation last Wednesday night drew about 1,400 people to its annual benefit dinner, translating to about $1.4 million to fund organizations working to help women and people of color 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.

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 about 500 individuals careers had benefited from the foundation’s efforts over the years and said 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, at the New York Hilton, was the first for Kaitz executive director Debbie Smith, hired in April.