Walter Kaitz Foundation Raises $1.1 Million To Support Industry Diversity Efforts

Spencer Kaitz (l.) and Michael Powell, NCTA president and CEO, at the Walter Kaitz Foundation Dinner in New York.
Spencer Kaitz (l.) and Michael Powell, NCTA president and CEO, at the Walter Kaitz Foundation Dinner in New York. (Image credit: Walter Kaitz Foundation)

The Walter Kaitz Foundation celebrated its 40th-anniversary fundraising dinner Wednesday by raising more than $1.1 million toward the media and connectivity industry’s continued diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

The dinner, co-chaired by Comcast executive VP and chief diversity officer Dalila Wilson-Scott and Revolt CEO Detavio Samuels, drew more than 500 industry executives to the dinner, which officially concluded the industry’s Diversity Week festivities that included the WICT Network Leadership Conference and the NAMIC Conference.

Proceeds from the dinner, including more than $50,000 generated through a silent auction during the event, will go towards fostering diversity programs from organizations supported by Kaitz, including The WICT Network, NAMIC, the Emma L. Bowen Foundation and the T. Howard Foundation.

During the dinner, the foundation honored The Hidden Genius Project and Hallmark Media’s Black-targeted Mahogany original content division with ChangeMaker Awards. Tied in with the dinner's anniversary, Wilson-Scott surprised Hidden Genius Project CEO Brandon Nicholson on stage with a $40,000 grant supporting the Oakland, California-based group's work mentoring Black male youth in technology creation, entrepreneurship and leadership skills.

Spencer Kaitz addressed attendees by stating the cable industry should take pride in its diversity efforts, which began long before most other industries recognized the importance of a diverse and inclusive workforce. He added, though, that the industry still needs to continue its efforts to further build a diverse and inclusive 

“Martin Luther King challenged all of us with his dream of what America could be,” Kaitz said. “Tonight I believe that if the great Dr. King was here looking around this room, he would say that we have moved past the beginning of achieving his dream. But we are here tonight because we know we are nowhere near the fulfillment of that dream.”

NCTA: The Internet & Television Association president and CEO Michael Powell thanked Spencer Kaitz and the foundation for its diversity advocacy efforts, adding that companies have to remain committed to the ideals of diversity and inclusion to be successful. 

“We will continue to thrive if we preserve our strong pledge to the values and the mission of inclusion, and if we’re unafraid to let the sun shine in to reveal areas where we fall short,” Powell said.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.