Cars sit in a parking lot between Bryant and Beale streets, the site of a proposed navigation center along The Embarcadero on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

UPDATE: More than 900 donors and $10,000 from Benioff BOOST rival homeless shelter GoFundMe

Wealthy residents are gearing up to fight a proposed Navigation Center on Port property

On Guard column header Joe

Update 3/29:Hoo-boy, what a nail-biter! The parody GoFundMe that is supporting the homeless navigation center on the waterfront — and lampooning the wealthy folks against it — has pulled ahead in funding. Those siding with helping the homeless are in, the, dang, lead!

And there are some deep-pocketed individuals to thank, as well as good old fashioned people power.

William Fitzgerald’s “SAFER Embarcadero for ALL” has garnered $71,000 as of 2:36 p.m. on Friday, outpacing the wealthy folks’ “Safe Embarcadero for All” GoFundMe, which raised $68,000.

It all happened so fast, too — when the rival page supporting homeless people started, it just had $20 from Fitzgerald, a local San Franciscan who wanted to “troll” the wealthy folks who were against homeless people having a place to stay on the waterfront.

Who put them over the top? Well, first we’ve got to point out that the parody GoFundMe has 901 individual donations, compared to the anti-homeless GoFundMe with only 170 donors. And we don’t even know if those donors are all truly individuals, as most of them are anonymous. And why wouldn’t they be?

It’s really, truly gross to fight homeless shelters in the midst of this housing crisis.

But much props also go to three big-time donors — Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Twilio co-founder Jeff Lawson, and GoFundMe itself, which donated $10,000, $10,0000 and $5,000, respectively.

Looks like more people still left their hearts in San Francisco, and the Bay, than you’d think, doesn’t it?

Update 3/28: Well well, the momentum certainly seems to be with the “pro” homeless shelter team.

The GoFundMe page meant to support those fighting for a navigation center — a new-fangled kind of homeless shelter with housing options — on the waterfront hit its first goal of $10,000 in just about six hours. That will all go to the Coalition on Homelessness, said William Fitzgerald, the San Franciscan who started the GoFundMe page.

And part of that funding was given by GoFundMe itself, which donated $5,000 to the cause.

GoFundMe spokesperson Katherine Cichy told me by email that every month GoFundMe gives more than $100,000 to “deserving campaigns” nominated by GoFundMe employees as part of their “Gives Back” program.

“GoFundMe employees choose to nominate worthy causes throughout the year and we believe this campaign to support the Coalition is an important effort,” Cichy told me.

As of this evening, the page had raised $13,828 to fund the fight for waterfront homeless services. The original campaign that’s fighting the homeless shelter, Safe Embarcadero for All (note, “safe” versus “safer”), had raised $46,465.

The original story follows below.

I’m not sure what’s more ridiculous — that wealthy residents are opposing a homeless shelter on the San Francisco waterfront, or that they had to raise a GoFundMe page to do it.

Multiple news outlets on Wednesday revealed wealthy waterfront neighbors were raising money to support a legal fight against a homeless navigation center at Seawall Lot 330, near the Bay Bridge.

Mayor London Breed proposed the new navigation center earlier this month.

Dubbed, in Orwellian fashion,Safe Embarcadero for All,” (except homeless people, presumably) it has raised $44,000 so far from residents of South Beach, Rincon Hill, Bayside Village, the made-up neighborhood known as the “East Cut,” and Mission Bay residents.

One donation even came in at $10,000. These are clearly people who truly need a GoFundMe account to garner help from the community, right?

But it ain’t over just yet.

A rival GoFundMe page has opened to troll these assumedly cigar-chomping, homeless-fighting bluebloods.

In an effort to replicate the wealthy neighbors’ GoFundMe page as closely as possible, it is called “Safer Embarcdero for All,” the only difference being Safe versus Safer.

William Fitzgerald, the San Franciscan who started the page, told me he’ll direct any funds garnered through his GoFundMe page to the Coalition on Homelessness, which is supporting the navigation center at Seawall Lot 330.

In a tweet, Fitzgerald said he made his GoFundMe page nearly identical to “troll” the wealthy waterfront neighbors own page.

Fitzgerald said “(the) hope would be the Coalition would resist the campaign set up by the lawyer to stop the Embarcadero navigation center with the money that this new GoFundMe raises.”

(I should note due to our shared last name — Fitzgerald — that we bear no relation, though his name certainly has a good ring to it, doesn’t it?)

The lawyer Fitzgerald is referring to is Andrew Zacks, of Zacks, Freedman & Patterson, who is notorious in tenants circles for vigorously working to dismantle tenants rights through his litigation.

Right now, the homeless shelter-supporting “Safer Embarcadero for All” has only $20, but let’s see how quickly that changes.

The Port of San Francisco will consider the lease for the navigation center in April.

On Guard prints the news and raises hell each week. Email Fitz at, follow him on Twitter and Instagram @FitztheReporter, and Facebook at

A previous edition of this column identified the lot as near Levi’s Plaza. That is incorrect, though it would be along the waterfront.


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