By Lee Hall
Throughout the revolutionary transformation of the cable industry over the past two decades, one thing has remained constant. The annual fund-raising banquet for the Walter Kaitz Foundation endures as an event where hundreds of cable’s leaders gather in a show of support for the industry’s diversity initiatives.
This year’s event, Sept. 22 at the New York Hilton in Midtown Manhattan, honors the man who led the foundation’s work through many of its 21 years. Spencer Kaitz, son of Walter Kaitz, for whom the organization is named, passionately steered the cable industry toward diversifying its ranks. Called by some the conscience of the industry, Mr. Kaitz made a career out of pressing the flesh with corporate leaders, persuading and cajoling them to support and promote the advancement of minorities and women into executive-level jobs.
Sales of tickets, tables and advertising for the annual dinner remain the foundation’s principal fund-raising method.
Spencer Kaitz stepped down last year from the Kaitz Foundation board and as president and general counsel of the California Cable & Telecommunications Association. But cable’s top leaders won’t let him get away without one more tribute. The banquet will include a video production featuring reflections of founding members of the Kaitz Foundation on the organization’s progress and future.
“There is no one more deserving of this recognition than Spencer,” said Glenn Britt, chairman and CEO of Time Warner Cable and chairman of the Kaitz Foundation. Mr. Britt and Showtime Networks Chairman Matt Blank serve as co-chairs of the 2004 banquet.
The banquet will also highlight the work of the three organizations that are beneficiaries of its largesse. Under the foundation’s reorganization last year, the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications, Women in Cable & Telecommunications and the Emma L. Bowen Foundation emerged as the primary recipients of funding as they expand their efforts to promote racial, ethnic and general diversity.