Last week, Jerome Dodson, founder of the responsible investing firm Parnassus Investments, donated $1,000 to a GoFundMe campaign to stop the opening of a homeless center in San Francisco. The campaign has raised over $80,000 over the past 11 days since it started.
"This effort will require your help by showing up to hearings and community gatherings and making a financial contribution to a legal fund," a statement on the page said.
Dodson founded the investment firm based in San Francisco in 1984 with the vision that investors take the environmental, social, and political impact of their decisions into account when investing. Dodson now serves as chairman of the $26.5 billion firm, which Morningstar last year called "an unequivocal leader in sustainable investing."
But his latest philanthropic endeavor has led some to criticize the inconsistency between Dodson's professional advocacy for philanthropy and "community sensitivity" and his personal actions. A spokesperson for the firm defended Dodson, saying that he was "very supportive of efforts to improve the conditions for homeless people in San Francisco" and has made "substantial contributions" to several nonprofits.
"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,” the statement said. “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.