James Dondero Gives Philanthropy a Local Touch

As the co-founder and current president of Highland Capital Management, James Dondero has a busy professional life, but that doesn’t mean he has no time for other endeavors. In fact, the Dallas, Texas executive is extremely motivated in his efforts to help the city thrive and improve itself. Using philanthropic organizations and charities, James is striving to give back to his community on a regular basis.

One of the more recent projects that Mr. Dondero has undertaken was to help the Dallas Zoo reopen an important exhibit. In 2001, one of the zoo’s hippopotamuses passed away and the facility was forced to close the habitat as a result. With a donation of $1 million, James played a part in helping the zoo restructure the habitat. Together with other donors, funds totaling more than $14 million helped the zoo restore the hippo habitat and the new exhibit now bears the name of Highland Capital Management in honor of the contribution made by the investor.

When asked about his philanthropic efforts, Mr. Dondero revealed that his charity work is all motivated by the same goal. He wants to support projects that will help the Dallas area move into the future and improve itself for the next generation. Working individually and with the support of his investment firm, Mr. Dondero hopes to help the city achieve better things.

Other charitable contributions that James has made in conjunction with Highland Capital include:

  • Perot Museum of Natural Science
  • George W. Bush Presidential Library and Institute
  • Uplift Education
  • Snowball Express

These philanthropic donations haven’t been the result of a whim. From the very beginning of his career, James knew that he wanted to be involved in his community and to give back in meaningful ways. Even when he started his investment firm, he did so with the intention of donating a portion of the resources to philanthropic causes.

Highland Capital Management Joins Forces with The Dallas Foundation

James Dondero has commented on the partnership his investment firm has formed with an area charitable organization, The Dallas Foundation. Working with its CEO and president, Mary Jalonick, James hopes to make better use of his firm’s donations each year. Every year, Highland sets aside a philanthropic budget of $3 million and Mr. Dondero is hopeful that Mary’s expertise in charity work will help direct those funds to the causes most in need.

Together with Ms. Jalonick, James has established the Highland Dallas Foundation Inc., which will help manage those donations more efficiently. Among the causes that foundation will benefit are American veterans, education, healthcare, and North Texas civic organizations. The grants offered by Mr. Dondero and his firm benefit these causes in immeasurable ways each year, helping the Dallas community to thrive and assist those most in need of assistance.

To help attain those goals, The Dallas Foundation recruited Linda Owen, who formerly served as the CEO of the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation. In her new position, Ms. Owen will facilitate networking opportunities between James and the charitable organizations specifically dedicated to helping communities in North Texas. One of the projects that Highland Dallas Foundation has undertaken, since Ms. Owen joined the team, was to donate $1 million to The Family Place. The shelter, which is for men who are victims of domestic violence, is located near a medical facility and operates a 24-hour emergency hotline for men in need.

These are just a few of the projects that James Dondero feels passionately about helping. Along with his new philanthropic partners, James is eager to help Dallas advance into a brighter future. He hopes his efforts and those of his investment firm will help provide more opportunities for everyone in Dallas and throughout North Texas.