Shadow of a Stout

James Dondero: Entrepreneur and Philanthropist


Many businessmen in America have achieved great success. Not many, however, have capitalized on that success and founded their own business. Even fewer have donated millions of dollars from that company for philanthropic purposes. James Dondero, founder and CEO of Highland Capital Management, L.P., is one of those few.

A University of Virginia alumnist, James Dondero was a dual major in accounting and finance. While working hard to graduate with high honors, James Dondero was also hard at work entering the Morgan Guaranty training program in 1984 as an analyst. He went on to earn dual certifications as a certified management accountant and as a chartered financial analyst.

With this experience under his belt, James Dondero went on to become a corporate bond analyst at American Express in 1985. After several more years of corporate experience, James Dondero went on to found Highland Capital Management in 1993. This company is responsible for over $14 billion dollars in asset management. They offer many options and solutions for retail and institutional investors. Highland has many different affiliates, including NexPoint Advisors, NexPoint Residential Trust, and NexPoint Capital. They have also been the recipient of several awards. Such awards include the Lipper Award for Floating Rate Opportunity, Morningstar’s top ranked healthcare long/short equity fund, and, most recently, Morningstar’s 5 star designation for Global Allocation, which was awarded in 2014.

James Dondero currently serves as President of Highland Capital Management. He is also on the board of American Banknote and MGM Studios. He is Chairman of the board for NexBank, NexPoint, CCS Medical, and Cornerstone Healthcare.

Aside from his professional successes, James Dondero is an active philanthropist in his city of Dallas. Via his company, he donated $1 million dollars to the Dallas Zoo and the same monetary amount as a challenge grant to help complete funding for The Family’s Place. The company has donated $2 million dollars to Southern Methodist University to expose students to policy making and study abroad opportunities. They also support Education is Freedom, a program seeking to provide financial assistance to at-risk youth seeking a college degree.

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