When most hedge fund managers were running away from investing in emerging markets, Highland Capital Management’s CEO Jim Dondero was doubling down on his bet on Argentinian bonds. And his bet paid off when Mauricio Macri, the first democratically-elected candidate, became president. Highland Capital Management has offices in Sao Paulo, New York, Singapore, and Seoul. So staying close to what’s happening around the world from an investment perspective is what Jim Dondero likes to do when he’s planning an investment-business strategy.
Highland Capital Management is a Dallas-based investment firm with more than $17 billion in assets under management. James Dondero and Mark Okada started Highland Capital in 1993. The company and Dondero have a reputation for sharing their good fortune with non-profits in the Dallas community. Highland Capital helped Dallas become the city it is today. The Highland Capital Foundation likes to fund non-profits like the Family Place, a haven for women and children who are victims of domestic violence.
James Dondero likes to support non-profits that bring culture and sophistication to the Dallas area. Jim likes to help the Dallas Zoo, a 106-acre wild animal habitat that’s been entertaining the people of Dallas since 1888. The Dallas Zoo is the oldest and largest Zoo in Texas. Highland Capital and Jim Dondero played a role in the growth of the Zoo. Dondero also supports the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.
But Southern Methodist University is another Dallas institution that benefits from Jim Dondero’s philanthropic endeavors. Dondero and Highland Capital Management sponsor a series of lectures called the Engage Series at the Bush Center on the campus of SMU. Dondero thinks that sponsorship is one of his proudest achievements when it comes to offering people a first-hand learning experience they can’t get anywhere else. Mr. Dondero even helps The Dallas-Fort Worth Airport keep up with the ever-changing travel market.
Jim doesn’t call himself a philanthropist, but other Dallas residents know Dondero has the financial ability, and the will, to keep Dallas moving in the right direction. Highland Capital Management’s $2 million SMU endowment created a program called the Highland Tower Scholars Program. That Dondero-funded program helps SMU students learn how international politics works and how international business impacts the global economy. SMU students study abroad thanks to Dondero’s help, and those students learn how other countries conduct business and how they handle their political system.
Jim is a big financial fan of the Education Is Freedom program because it helps at-risk students get a college degree. He also supports the Mayor’s Intern Fellows Program every year. Highland Capital Management and Jim Dondero seem to leave their financial footprint all over the city of Dallas. And Dondero continues to find new organizations that need help surviving in this ninth largest city in the United States
The organizations that receive help from the Highland Capital Foundation know they can count of Jim Dondero to be there when they need financial assistance. Dondero knows how to invest. He invests in Dallas non-profits because the return on his investment is all about feeling good. He sees his philanthropy change lives, and he sees his efforts rewarded by the support the people of Dallas give these organizations. Jim Dondero sets the philanthropic pace in Dallas. And he does it with grace and an open wallet.
But Dondero doesn’t lose sight of his role as one of the most successful alternative asset investors in the finance industry. He keeps traveling around the world so he can help the people of Dallas enjoy the non-profits that add quality to their daily lives.