James Dondero and His Passion for Philanthropy

Philanthropy is often seen as a tool for social transformation. In a culturally-rich country like the United States, charity and social projects can bridge intolerance and hatred among the population that has diverse cultural values.

In Dallas, where approximately 42% of the population identifies itself as Hispanic and 25% as Black, the role of philanthropy in minimizing the cultural rift is paramount.

A Beacon of Hope for Dallas

For many years, James Dondero has been instrumental in supporting local charities and non-profits in the Greater Dallas area. In line with the strategic vision of his company, he believes that philanthropy always gives back. Therefore, Mr. Dondero personally takes a keen interest in the operations of the charitable arm of his company, the Highland Dallas Foundation.

james dondero

To achieve his goals, Mr. Dondero partnered with the former CEO of the famed Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation, Linda Owen. Following the strategic vision of James Dondero, Linda provides her time and assistance in managing the day-to-day operations of Highland Dallas Foundation. The dedicated team ensures that the Foundation also acts as a bridge that continues to bring together different charities in the area, allowing charities to work together for the greater cause.

While the Highland Capital Management is a global company with offices located in the major financial centers around the world, the focus of charitable contribution remains the local community of Dallas.

The main reason for focusing on the local community is to create a greater tangible impact on the area, which should be visible in the shortest amount of time. As a result, Highland Dallas Foundation is known in the area for assisting in landmark projects, which includes the construction of the famous Perot Museum of Nature & Science and ongoing educational exhibitions in the Dallas Zoo.

Besides these programs, the revenue of Highland Capital Management is shared amongst non-profits such as the Tower Scholars Program, The Family Place, Education is Freedom, Bush Center, and Snowball Express, among others.

Philanthropic Contributions

Highland Capital Management recently donated $1 million to help ‘The Family Place’ build a counseling center in the city. The Family Place is the biggest provider of family violence services in the state of Texas. The new counseling center will offer family counseling, in Spanish and English languages, to the victims of family violence.

Similarly, the Foundation provided a similar grant to the Dallas Zoo, helping it build the popular Hippo Outpost, which continues to attract large crowds. It is noticeable that the aid by the foundation is the largest in the history of the Zoo.

Apart from various public projects, James Dondero also wanted the Foundation to create a meaningful impact on the lives of underprivileged and bright students. To fulfill his vision, Linda Owen manages funds to support students early in their education endeavors.

For instance, the Foundation made $2 Million endowment gift to Southern Methodist University enabling many students to interact with global leaders and public policy masterminds. Another similar endeavor is reflected in helping ‘Education is Freedom’ organization.

Every year, the Highland Dallas Foundation also provides an opportunity to underprivileged high school students in getting an internship at the Mayor’s Office. In fact, Highland is known to underwrite funds for many companies in the area, providing paid internship opportunities. As a result, many non-profits are able to hire talent interns.

Likewise, the Foundation is instrumental in helping children. For example, it regularly sponsors the main event of ‘Capital for Kids’, which offers quality educational programs for low-income families in the Dallas Area. Another similar program, the Snowball Express, is also supported by Highland Dallas Foundation.

The program offers support to the fallen Military Heroes of the Nation. Recently, it provided $1.7 Million grant in donations by matching $1 for every $1 donated up to a Million Dollar. In fact, such prominent institutions as the Bush Center and Perot Museum of Nature & Science are icons of philanthropic endeavors of one of the city’s best-loved sons.

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