James Dondero has made a name for himself in the financial industry as an expert when it comes to investing in collateralized loan obligations (CLO). He is the president of Highland Capital Management L.P., a company he co-founded in 1993. He began his career in the financial industry as an analyst and was a portfolio manager at American Express. He joined Protective Life as the chief investment officer and then left so he could establish his own company. Visit jimdondero.com to know more about him.
CLOs are an alternative asset. These are a pool of corporate loans, typically ones that have a low credit rating from Moody’s. They are invested in because they have the potential of giving an investor a higher-than-average return. James Dondero buys this debt and then bundles it together with other debt in the funds he manages. His funds are bought by retail and institutional investors from around the world. Read more at Wikipedia about James Dondero.
His company is based in Dallas, Texas. James Dondero has become known as a philanthropist that has helped many causes in this city. He wants to help Dallas nonprofits do their work without needing to worry about where their next donation is coming from. He budgets to give $3 million away annually. He has also volunteered to serve on the board of a few different nonprofits.
Among the nonprofits he has supported are The Perot Museum of Nature and Science, the Dallas Zoo, Southern Methodist University’s Tower Scholars initiative, Education is Freedom, and The Family Place. James Dondero donates this money through the Highland Dallas Foundation, Inc.
In 2001, the Dallas Zoo had removed its hippo habitat after its oldest hippo passed away. Zoo management decided they wouldn’t put hippos on exhibit again until they could build them a new habitat. James Dondero donated $1 million which was used to build this new habitat.
The Simmons Hippo Outpost opened in 2018 thanks to his donation and others. The habitat includes the Highland Hippo Hut which is filled with information about hippos. This hut is nearly 5,000 square feet and is now used for private events and educational events.