NEW YORK – The Annual Walter Kaitz Foundation Fundraising Dinner was both a blast from the past and a clarion call to the future. Under the theme “Painting a Picture of Diversity,” the organization celebrated its 35th annual dinner while setting a tone for the future. That included welcoming the Kaitz Foundation’s new Executive Director Michelle Ray, who ascended to the position just weeks ahead of the event, after serving as Deputy Director. Ray received rousing applause from the audience upon taking the stage. “Tonight, we are delighted to celebrate the Kaitz’s Foundation’s 35-year history, but we are cognizant of keeping a clear focus on the future,” said Ray. “Diversity means nothing without inclusion, parity and equity. We will keep that top of mind as we work with our amazing industry partners.”
During an evening of exquisite entertainment by violin virtuosos Sons of Mystro and a welcome by Nia Franklin, Miss America 2.0, the Foundation also recognized Boys and Girls Club of America as its Diversity Advocate and recognized TV One with the Diversity Champion Award.
This year’s event was co-chaired by Josh Sapan, President & CEO AMC Networks and Dave Watson, President & CEO Comcast Cable, Senior EVP Comcast Corporation. However, the two turned over their hosting duties to three “Rising Leaders” within their companies, Danielle Phillips, Supervisor Business Operations Compliance and Affiliate Relations, Comcast; Grace Chung, Director Transformation Strategy, AMC Networks and Sowan Sawyer, Director, Scheduling Sundance TV.
Michael Powell, President & CEO of the NCTA – The Internet & Television Association closed out the evening, by offering, “In the telecommunications industry we do not shrink from our commitment to diversity, our industry recognizes that our own prosperity depends on inclusion, and the future prospects of America depend on it as well.
Proceeds from the event, held at the Marriott Marquis, will support the programs and initiatives of three key industry organizations: the Emma L. Bowen Foundation, the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC), and Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT). In 2019, the Foundation will extend its support to the T. Howard Foundation.
About the Walter Kaitz Foundation
The Walter Kaitz Foundation stands at the center of the media and telecommunications industry’s long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion and seeks to advance the contributions of women and multi-ethnic professionals in the media and telecommunications industry. Through the funds raised, the organizations that are supported through grants, and the vital programs produced, the Walter Kaitz Foundation serves as a catalyst for increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in the industry’s workforce and its programming content.