Entrepreneur and philanthropist James Dondero has not experienced a typical day for many years. His long days are currently filled with work and activities geared toward helping various organizations in the Dallas community. One of his recent undertakings was to contribute a large sum of money to the Dallas Zoo. In 2001, the Dallas Zoo eliminated its popular hippo habitat. When an elderly hippo named Papa died, the zoo’s management decided that the hippo residence was no longer needed. Residents in the Dallas area were unhappy about the decision. However, the hippo habitat remained closed for nearly two decades.
People called the zoo and wrote letters complaining that they missed observing the fascinating and entertaining hippos. They wanted the zoo to rebuild the habitat so that their families could enjoy watching the larger than life animals.
After all these years, the Dallas Zoo management team has decided to listen to the concerns expressed by Dallas residents. Leaders at the zoo made the decision to rebuild the hippo habitat into a completely modernized rendition. The only problem was that the zoo required about $14 million to restore the habitat to what is now known as the hippo outpost. The outpost, which comprises more than two acres, was recently launched. People immediately began to flock to the Dallas Zoo so that they could view the hippos in action. Gregg Hudson, chief operating officer of the Dallas Zoo, admits that the new Simmons Hippo Outpost, which contains the 5,000-square-foot Highland Capital Lodge, is largely responsible for the zoo’s additional visitors.
Mr. Dondero donated $1 million dollars so that Dallas residents and visitors could take their families to the zoo and watch the amusing antics of their favorite hippos. In fact, the Dallas Zoo named a section of the hippo habitat after Highland Capital Management, James Dondero’s financial business. Due to James Dondero’s generous contribution, people are now able to hold private events at the Highland Capital Lodge. The Simmons Hippo Outpost will continue to attract large crowds to the Dallas Zoo.
The new hippo outpost features two charming hippos named Adhama and Boipelo. Adhama, a younger male hippopotamus, appears to enjoy his ventures in the water. Visitors are entranced as they watch the hippo gracefully dance in the water via an enclosure surrounded by glass. Even though Boipelo, a male hippo, is four years older than Adhama, the zookeepers have hopes that the matched pair will eventually become parents of a baby. A new baby hippo will help ensure that hippos will not become an endangered species.
Whether it is part of his destiny or simply a passion for helping others, James Dondero has always wanted to use his money for improvements in the Dallas area. Mr. Dondero loves Dallas and the people who reside in his neighborhood. James Dondero’s philanthropic commitment has empowered him to offer his assistance whenever the Dallas community requires a financial push.
Besides his involvement with the Dallas Zoo hippo project, James Dondero’s firm, Highland Capital Management LP, has contributed funds to the Education is Freedom charity and the Perot Museum of Natural Science. Mr. Dondero’s financial credit company has also donated money to the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
Furthermore, James Dondero founded the Highland Dallas Foundation, Inc. with the help of Mary Jalonick. Ms. Jalonick, the chief financial officer of The Dallas Foundation, is a close ally. Her collaborative efforts with Mr. Dondero has resulted in substantial financial contributions to charitable organizations located in the Dallas vicinity. Numerous annual grants sponsored by the Highland Dallas Foundation, Inc. provide financial assistance to students, veterans, charities and civic organizations in Dallas.
Eager for getting even more involved in his community, James Dondero recently joined forces with Linda Owen, former CEO of the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation. Ms. Owen diligently contributes her time and energy to his foundation to ensure that he is aware of various nonprofit agencies in Dallas. Their intentions are to renovate the northern part of Texas.
With Linda Owen’s help, Highland Capital Management has had opportunities to help The Family Place by offering a $1 million challenge. In addition, Mr. Dondero’s assistance to The Family Place, a shelter for domestic violence victims, has received extra funds due to a Mother’s Day event held at the Dallas Zoo.
As a young man working at JPMorgan Chase & Co., James Dondero advanced his career when he accepted a prestigious position at American Express. His degrees earned at the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce helped him become the Co-Founder of Highland Capital Management, LP located in Dallas, Texas. Since 1993, Highland Capital Management LP has earned a stellar reputation within the financial industry. Working mainly with credit hedge funds and equity accounts held by private individuals, James Dondero is a talented and diligent entrepreneur.
James Dondero is the perfect example of an entrepreneur whose heart is devoted to philanthropy. His charitable efforts have achieved successful outcomes for a wide array of organizations. James Dondero’s vision and financial means serve to form a powerful and positive force within the Dallas community.
In addition to donations given to various Dallas organizations, Mr. Dondero has donated money to charities located in other countries. Focusing on education and assistance to veterans, Highland Capital Management LP continues to thrive as a guiding principle and altruistic benefactor.