The entrepreneurial success of James Dondero, the president and co-founder of Highland Capital Management, is well-known among the investment circles. However, residents of Dallas recognize Mr. Dondero as one of the most benevolent personalities who has helped shape the city’s various philanthropic projects. In fact, the fundraising arm of the company, Highland Dallas Foundation, is actively supporting some of the most coveted charities in the city. In 1994, after moving his company’s headquarters to Dallas, James Dondero ensured that donation from his charitable foundation made a positive and powerful contribution towards building a better and loving local community.
How Highland Capital Management is Helping Dallas?
The contribution of Highland Dallas Foundation is noteworthy because it encourages non-profits to work together to maximize the overall impact on the local community. For instance, it helped The Family Place, biggest provider of family violence services in Texas, to hold a special Mother’s Day event at the Dallas Zoo. The event was made possible through the connections of Highland Capital Management, which provides financial help to both the Dallas Zoo and The Family Place. The extensive collaboration among these two different non-profits is a reflection of how Highland Dallas Foundation is able to bring Dallas communities together by helping the various social groups involved in the community development.
Just recently, the Foundation helped The Family Place by awarding $1 Million challenge grant for its new counseling center in Dallas. To boost the campaign during its final phase, the Foundation matched 50 percent of any funds raised, which ultimately helped The Family Place complete its goal ahead of schedule. In fact, the campaign was a huge success as everyone from the city’s Mayor to its Police Chief was involved. Just like the Family Place, Dallas Zoo has also been the recipient of grants from the Highland Dallas Foundation. The newest state-of-the-art Hippo Outpost in the Wilds of Africa area is built with the support of the Foundation. In fact, the Hippo Outpost was the largest philanthropic effort in the history of the Dallas Zoo. Similarly, it recently donated $1.7 Million to Snowball Express, a charity for the children of fallen military soldiers. For every $1 donated, the Foundation matched $1, helping Snowball exceed its goal.
Public Service & Other Philanthropic Initiatives
The pursuit of public service is evident in another remarkable endowment gift of $2 Million granted to the Southern Methodist University. The grant is a gift from the Highland Capital Foundation to the University for managing its Tower Scholars Program Fund. The program selects ten undergraduate students, pursuing studies in politics and international affairs, to interact and learn from public figures in key policy making areas. Due to the continuous aid it receives, the Tower Scholars Program Fund is a great success as many of its graduates achieved early success by working with thought leaders; whereas, several others have gone to prestigious law schools or gained admission in top graduate programs.
The philosophy of James’s Foundation to assist students in their early years of education is also reflected in the success of local charities such as ‘Education is Freedom’. The project, Education is Freedom, provides financial assistance to at-risk youth who are seeking a college degree. Every year, Highland Capital Management sponsors the annual job fair for the organization allowing high school students to work for the Mayor’s Office.
The Foundation is also among the most active supporters of the famous ‘Bush Center’, a non-partisan policy organization. In 2012, Mr. Dondero committed $10 million to help sustain a series of public programs initiated by the Bush Center. Similarly, the support for public education is reflected in the regular funding of Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Apart from aiding in the construction of the museum, the foundation sponsors major exhibits and events organized by the Museum.
The philanthropic endeavors of James Dondero and his team continue to inspire residents of Dallas. The main goal of the funding is a long-lasting impact on the local society, which can help non-profits and people of different race comes together to build a strong community. In fact, the operational competence of Highland Dallas Foundation can also act as benchmark for other non-profits.