James Dondero knows all about growing businesses. Just a few years after graduating from the University Of Virginia, he became the Chief Investment Officer of Protective Life’s GIV subsidiary. Under his leadership, that subsidiary grew to $2 billion. In 1993, Dondero co-founded Highland Capital Management. Today, the firm’s assets are estimated at well over $18 billion.
How has this happened? It goes to Dondero exercising both discipline and boldness in his investments, which are incredibly diverse. Highland’s investing covers hedge funds, private equity, loan obligations and mutual funds. Dondero and his firm work with many different companies and clients and provide them with the affordable strategies to grow their portfolios. The firm’s client base consists of public pension plans, endowments, corporations, financial institutions, governments, and individuals. Under Dondero’s leadership, Highland Capital Management has received a five star rating from Morningstar, and the Lipper Award for Floating Rate Opportunities.
Dondero has accumulated much wealth personally and for his company, but a significant amount of it goes back to the community of Dallas, where Highland Capital headquarters is based. A lot of these donations revolve around educational opportunities. Dondero has made significant donations over the years to Southern Methodist University’s Tower Scholars Program, which gives students various business and public policy opportunities. Other funds have gone to Education is Freedom for at risk youth looking to go to college, as well as the Perot Museum of Natural Science, which offers hands on science, math, and technology exhibits for children. Other philanthropic endeavors Dondero has donated to include the Snowball Express, which provides fun experiences to the children of fallen military personnel, and the Dallas Zoo for its new Hippo Hut special event pavilion. Dondero also serves on the Board of Directors of MGM Studios and American Banknote.