James Dondero: Charity Begins At Home

According to an online article on Dallasfoundation.com, the charitable foundation has teamed up with James Dondero, Co-founder and President of Highland Capital Management. Highland is based in Dallas and in one of the biggest and most experienced alternative investment companies, says the article. Even though Highland has a platform that is global, the bulk of Jim Dondero’s charitable giving is local.

Jim says that Highland Capital had an annual philanthropic budget of more that $3 million. The company needed help to manage the budget. After an extensive search, Jim and his company decided to work with Mary Jalonick, who is the President and CEO of The Dallas Foundation, says the article. She has a team of charitable and donor service experts, the article explains.

One of the main reasons that Jim decided to use The Dallas Foundation was because of its loyalty to the community. They also have an excellent reputation for achievement in the nonprofit community, says Jim.

The article says that James and Mary worked together to form a plan that would make Highland Capital’s charitable giving “aspirational, bold, and effective”. They formed the Highland Dallas Foundation, Inc., which is a supporting organization of The Dallas Foundation, says the article. It is a firm partnership between Highland Capital Management and The Dallas Foundation.

It was also noted that Jim Dondero sponsors a lot of worthy causes in the Dallas area. Some of these include care of veterans, education, and healthcare initiatives. With the newly-formed Highland Dallas Foundation, Inc., Jim has added civic organizations to his charitable giving. Some of these recipients are The Perot Museum, The Bush Presidential Library, and the Dallas Zoo, says the article.

Mary Jalonick says that part of Jim’s philanthropic strategy includes the use of multi-year grants. She says that such grants are unusual; however, they are the best way to help nonprofits keep a sustainable source of funding. Jim also decided to hire the former president and CEO of Woodall Rogers Park Foundation, Linda Owen. She will work exclusively with the Highland Dallas Foundation, Inc., says the article.

Dondero is a graduate of the University of Virginia. He got his degree from the McIntire School of Commerce and majored in Accounting and Finance. He is also a Certified Management Accountant and Chartered Financial Analyst. Jim was in the Morgan Guaranty training program in 1984 as an analyst. From 1985 to 1989, he worked for American Express and a Corporate Bond Analyst and a Portfolio Manager.

From 1989 to 1993, Jim was instrumental in building the GIC subsidiary of Protective Life from the beginning to over $2 billion in AUM. He co-founded Highland Capital Management in 1993 as a company that developed Collateralized Loan Obligation, hedge funds, private equity, and mutual funds. Jim Dondero is well-known in the Dallas area for his philanthropy.