Anonymous Donors Give $3 Million To Name New Riverside YMCA In Honor Of James H. Winston, Sr.


JACKSONVILLE, FL – Thanks to two anonymous donors, the new 70,000 square-foot YMCA in Riverside will be named to honor James H. Winston, a well-known, local civic leader, real estate developer and philanthropist.

Both donors, who have their own long-standing history of involvement with the organization, believe Winston’s name belongs on the new riverfront Y not only because of his relationship with the YMCA dating back to 1970 but also his legacy of advocacy for the revitalization of Brooklyn, Riverside and the surrounding neighborhoods. Years ago, Winston could already see great potential for Riverside Avenue, likening it to that of Miami’s Brickell Avenue. He loved its tremendous visibility to commuters entering Jacksonville and its parallel wind with the river’s edge on the approach to the heart of the city, making it the perfect gateway to downtown.

In 1999, after nearly 30 years of giving his time, talent and treasure to the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast in various leadership roles, including Chairman of the Corporate Board, the organization chose to honor him with the naming of their newest location in Ponte Vedra. With news of the anonymous gifts that would move the Winston name to Riverside, local volunteers in Ponte Vedra are exploring other opportunities to rename their neighborhood Y.

“Because of his concerns for improving the quality of life in neighborhoods like Brooklyn, building a new Y in Riverside has been Mr. Winston’s vision for many years,” said Eric Mann, President and CEO. “We are thankful to the selfless donors who have made the opportunity possible to recognize him in the community where his passion has always really been.”

The new Winston Family YMCA at 221 Riverside Avenue is expected to break ground in the coming months and open in 2014. In October 2012, the YMCA announced a $22 million capital fundraising effort to pay for the project of which all but $5 million has been raised to date. Naming opportunities are still available. For more information, contact Jan Brogdon at 904.265.1812 or

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For more than 100 years, YMCA of Florida’s First Coast has been providing men, women and children of all ages, and from all walks of life, opportunities to build stronger bonds, live healthy and become more engaged with their communities. Learn more: