The founder of a $26.5 billion do-good investment firm just donated to oppose a new homeless center in San Francisco

Photo by John Harding/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty ImagesJerry Dodson, who founded Parnassus Investments, opposes a new homeless center in San Francisco.
  • Jerome “Jerry” Dodson founded Parnassus Investments, one of the biggest responsible-investing firms, which aim to do good while making money.
  • The San Francisco resident donated $US1,000 this week to a new GoFundMe campaign aimed at blocking a proposed homeless center.
  • Dodson’s firm advocates corporate issues such as philanthropy and “community sensitivity.”
  • Dodson’s opposition to the specific homeless center comes from a belief that other locations would better serve the homeless, according to a spokesman.

Jerome “Jerry” Dodson started a firm based on responsible investing, the concept that doing good and making money go hand in hand. He’s also lobbying against a neighbourhood homeless center, according to a fundraising page.

Founded in 1984, the San-Francisco based Parnassus Investments has grown to be one of the largest firms – and the biggest mutual fund manager – that take environmental, social, and governance considerations into account when investing. Parnassus is well regarded in the investing space, with analysts at Morningstar last year calling it “an unequivocal leader in sustainable investing.”

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Dodson, now the firm’s chairman, has also integrated doing good into his personal life: Per a Bloomberg profile, he has served on the boards of the Haight Ashbury Free Medical Clinics, Project Open Hand, the Social Investment Forum, the San Francisco Museum, and the city’s historical society.

This week, Dodson donated $US1,000 to a GoFundMe campaign opposing the opening of a San Francisco homeless center. The campaign has raised over $US60,000 in eight days toward a $US100,000 goal.

“This effort will require your help by showing up to hearings and community gatherings and making a financial contribution to a legal fund,” the page said.

Donors appear to be a mix of financial and tech professionals as well as other local residents.

The donation led some to highlight what they perceived as irony between Dodson’s professional life and his latest personal philanthropic effort. In its investments, Parnassus advocates corporate issues such as philanthropy and “community sensitivity.”

A spokesman for the firmsaid Dodson was “very supportive of efforts to improve the conditions for homeless people in San Francisco,” noting his “substantial contributions” to multiple nonprofits, including those that serve homeless people. Dodson’s opposition to the specific homeless center comes from a belief that other locations would better serve the homeless, per the statement.

“He has made a contribution to the Safe Embarcadero For All effort because he believes that the project currently being proposed by San Francisco Mayor, London Breed, is not an efficient use of public properties due to the extraordinary cost of waterfront real estate and therefore not an optimal use of municipal resources,” the statement said.

It continued:

“Jerome Dodson, and the company he founded in 1984, Parnassus Investments, have made generous contributions to many charitable causes in the Bay Area and many other locales for many years. These contributions have addressed a wide range of social needs, including helping needy children, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless and advancing various environmental causes. Furthermore, Parnassus has pursued its core mission to improve the environmental, social, and governance profiles of businesses for more than 30 years.

“As a long-term resident of San Francisco, Mr. Dodson looks forward to continuing those efforts in the future on both personal and professional level.”

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The news comes a day after developments in a different saga involving the former TPG executive William “Bill” McGlashan, who was charged as part of the wide-ranging college-admissions scandal earlier this month.

On Wednesday, his lawyers said in a court filing that he should be allowed to keep his passport and travel internationally. Among other roles at TPG, McGlashan was a cofounder and CEO of The Rise Fund, an investment fund focused on companies trying to tackle social and environmental issues.

TPG said earlier this month that it would allow investors to pull their money from the second Rise Fund.

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