Make us your home page

Times, YMCA embrace bond of community

Times editor Paul Tash addressed the local YMCA’s annual luncheon Wednesday.

Times editor Paul Tash addressed the local YMCA’s annual luncheon Wednesday.

Newspapers' biggest charitable contribution to their hometowns is the journalism they practice. But in these days of economic turmoil ripping through Florida newspapers, the legacy of St. Petersburg Times owner Nelson Poynter was described Wednesday as the ultimate philanthropic act.

"In a decision that may be the largest charitable contribution in the history of the Tampa Bay region, he kept the Times independent, locally owned and rooted here in these communities," said Paul Tash, the third editor, chairman and chief executive of Times Publishing Co. since Poynter's death 30 years ago in June. "In today's world of corporate journalism, the Times is a rare creature. Our health is tied directly to the health of the Tampa Bay community. It's not like we have somewhere else to go if things don't work out here."

Poynter, who railed against the growth of newspaper chains, gave his paper to a journalism school he created, the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, rather than to heirs who had little interest in the business.

It was an arrangement that has buffered the Times from many of the financial pressures confronting other publicly traded Florida newspaper chains where "profits must always be the first priority," Tash said.

"Mr. Poynter was driven by affection for his newspaper and his town and his faith that one would help make the other better," Tash said.

Tash made the remarks Wednesday in keynote address at the annual luncheon of the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg. Near collapse a decade ago with only 600 members and outdated facilities next door to the Times building, the organization subsequently raised $14-million in private donations for a centrally located complex that gave it a new lease on life. Today the YMCA has more than 10,000 members and is raising money for a $3-million branch that opens this fall in the Childs Park neighborhood.

The Times was among the contributors that helped the YMCA move to Central Plaza.

Speaking on the evolution of charitable contributions businesses make to improve the lot of their communities and the potential work force that lives there, Tash said the Times'

$1-million in annual contributions to education, literacy, arts and other nonprofit groups was "dwarfed" by the power of a paper's news coverage and editorials to better the community.

"Newspapers around the country are making their communities better informed and more vital day in and day out, in ways large and small," he said. "Nelson Poynter gave us a tremendous gift. It is our job to make the most of it."

Mark Albright can be reached at or

(727) 893-8252.

Times, YMCA embrace bond of community 04/23/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 11:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally


    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Tampa Club president seeks assessment fee from members


    TAMPA — The president of the Tampa Club said he asked members last month to pay an additional assessment fee to provide "additional revenue." However, Ron Licata said Friday that the downtown business group is not in a dire financial situation.

    Ron Licata, president of the Tampa Club in downtown Tampa. [Tampa Club]
  3. Under Republican health care bill, Florida must make up $7.5 billion


    If a Senate bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 becomes law, Florida's government would need to make up about $7.5 billion to maintain its current health care system. The bill, which is one of the Republican Party's long-promised answers to the Affordable Care Act imposes a cap on funding per enrollee …

    Florida would need to cover $7.5 billion to keep its health care program under the Republican-proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.  [Times file photo]
  4. Amid U.S. real estate buying binge by foreign investors, Florida remains first choice

    Real Estate

    Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate recently skyrocketed to a new high with nearly half of all foreign sales happening in Florida, California and Texas.

    A National Association of Realtors annual survey found record volume and activity by foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. Florida had the highest foreign investment activity, followed by California and Texas. [National Association of Realtors]
  5. Trigaux: Tampa Bay health care leaders wary of getting too far ahead in disruptive times


    Are attempts to repeal Obamacare dead for the foreseeable future? Might the Affordable Care Act (ACA), now in dire limbo, be revived? Will Medicaid coverage for the most in need be gutted? Can Republicans now in charge of the White House, Senate and House ever agree to deliver a substitute health care plan that people …

    Natalia Ricabal of Lutz, 12 years old, joined other pediatric cancer patients in Washington in July to urge Congress to protect Medicaid coverage that helped patients like Ricabal fight cancer. She was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in 2013 and has undergone extensive treatments at BayCare's St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Tampa. [Courtesy of BayCare]