Ralph Smith for Tampa City Council District 5
My name is Ralph Smith. As founder and Executive Director of Computer Mentors Group, for the last 20 years I have been giving back to the community by helping provide our next generation with the skills they need to transition into adulthood. Now I would like to continue to give back to the community by serving as your City Council Member for District 5.
I will promote economic opportunity, especially for the residents of District 5. To do so I will:
- Promote programs for local entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses and that encourage job production
- Promote and encourage summer and intern/apprenticeship job programs for youth
- Promote the Tampa HubZone as a place to locate business and hire employees
- Promote fairness in public spending especially among minority populations and businesses
- Affordable housing
- Reducing violence
- Promoting policies that reclaim and amplify the vital role of family, church, and culture
- Promote community policing and implementation of citizen community review board
- Computer Mentors Founder and Executive Director
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Group – Education Committee Chair
- 100 Black Men of Tampa Bay – Treasurer
- City of Tampa Business Diversity Committee
- Hillsborough County Democratic Black Caucus
- RAP (Retired and Proud) Member
- C Blythe Andrews Friends of the Library Member
- NAACP Hillsborough County Branch – Member
I will promote safe and productive neighborhoods for families to thrive, including:
Memberships & Affiliations:
Ralph Smith's Biography
Ralph Smith is a technology professional with a passion for community service and educational opportunities for youth. Smith is best known for combining all three and forming Computer Mentors Group, a nonprofit that bridges the technology divide for Tampa Bay residents without sufficient economic resources.
Ralph is also making a name for himself as a candidate for Tampa City Council District 5, representing downtown, Tampa Heights, parts of North Tampa and East Tampa. Smith’s platform includes bringing economic development to neighborhoods; fostering entrepreneurial energy through city incentives; reducing crime; and creating equitable, inclusive and diverse communities throughout the district.
A job opportunity brought the Michigan native to Miami in 1981. Ralph worked for Financial Federal Savings & Loans as a programmer. After a few years, he joined Citibank as a Senior Programmer Analyst. Citibank transferred Ralph to Orlando in 1987, and then to Tampa in 1993, where he achieved the level of Assistant Vice President.
In 1997, Ralph founded Computer Mentors Group as a volunteer project to teach computer skills to low-income youth. The organization started with five teenage students and a volunteer network of computer professionals to mentor these “at-risk” teenagers, and point them in the direction of Information Technology careers. Adult computer programs are also available.
To date, the program has served more than 1,900 youth and has provided over 700 personal computers to residents in East Tampa and surrounding areas. In 2014, the organization also started a program called KidsCode for younger students and KidsCode is now the organization’s largest program, serving more than 500 elementary and middle schoolers annually.
And numerous colleagues, individuals and businesses have showed their faith in Ralph and his mission by donating hundreds of dollars to the East Tampa organization.