This paper proposes an empirical assessment of the main factors behind the decision of a corporate sponsor to launch a socially responsible (SR) fund. Our analysis is performed on a database that encompasses 414 SR fund creations by 46 corporate sponsors between 1990 and 2012. We provide evidence that economic and human resources slack, leverage, low media coverage and high extra-financial performance of the corporate sponsor contribute to an increase of the probability to propose SR funds. These results lead us to argue that the introduction of such funds goes beyond the economic objective of enlarging the market share of the corporate sponsor. It may thus be seen as a particular strategy in terms of communication and signaling, due to the specific characteristics of SR funds.