Updated: October 2020

46th anniversary fundraiser (2017)

'Communication: Information, awareness, empowerment'

In October, Consumer Action celebrated its 46 years of outstanding consumer advocacy work during a cocktail awards reception in Washington, DC, honoring Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn, fellow non-profit advocacy group Public Knowledge, and Detroit Public Television for their outstanding commitment to promoting consumer rights.

Click here for a gallery of photos taken at the event by Stephen Baranovics. Click here to view the program for this year’s event.

The theme of the anniversary was “Communication: Information, Awareness, Empowerment.” Advocates and allies from the non-profit, corporate and government sectors met at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Hall of Fame. The location complemented Consumer Action’s 46th anniversary theme—the ways in which communication tools and technologies inform, empower and protect consumers.

A member of Consumer Action’s event committee, Frank Torres of Microsoft, delivered the first award to Public Knowledge for its work promoting freedom of expression, an open internet and access to affordable communications tools. This year, especially given our theme, Consumer Action wanted to honor Public Knowledge for its work last year as a key ally in the Consumer Video Choice Coalition’s work to “unlock the box.” Because consumers pay $20 billion annually to lease set-top boxes, the coalition pressed to give consumers the power to watch pay-TV with their own devices, which would save money for many families.

Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Mignon Clyburn (center) accepts her 2017 Consumer Excellence Award from Linda Sherry and Ken McEldowney of Consumer Action.



Rich Homberg of Detroit Public Television (center) accepts an award for the documentary "When I'm 65" from Consumer Action's Ken McEldowney and event committee member Susan Diegelman of AT&T.

John Bergmayer of Public Knowledge accepts a Consumer Excellence Award on behalf of the digital rights advocacy organization.

Susan Diegelman of AT&T, also a Consumer Action event committee member, presented the second award to Detroit Public Television for its compelling documentary video, When I’m 65: Rethinking Retirement in America. One of the most pressing issues of our times, building a secure retirement is a concern for every American, whether retirement is right around the corner or far off in the future. And educating consumers about income security is an important part of Consumer Action’s mission. The 60-minute documentary uses case studies, engaging animations and lively expert interviews to explore how the financial and lifestyle choices we make today will affect our quality of life in retirement. Rich Homberg, president and CEO of Detroit Public Television, accepted the award.

Consumer Action Director of National Priorities Linda Sherry delivered the final award to FCC Commissioner Clyburn, an outspoken champion of sound regulatory action to protect consumers, close the digital divide and defend the public interest in the technological arena. “Consumer Action has long worked to ensure that telecommunications services remain understandable, accessible and affordable for low- and moderate-income families,” noted Sherry. “So, when we were considering potential honorees who understand the way communication tools and technologies inform, empower and protect consumers, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn was at the top of our list.” After accepting her award, Commissioner Clyburn spoke animatedly about her work to ensure that all consumers have an equal playing field, because despite technological advancements, there is still a lack of diversity and inclusion in the communications sector.

The event was underwritten by TracFone, Amazon and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). Major donors also included Capital One, DraftKings, Facebook, Microsoft and Verizon.“I’d like to give special thanks to NAB for hosting and to all our underwriters, major donors and contributors for making this another successful fundraiser, ” Ken McEldowney, Consumer Action's executive director, said.


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