In 2016, Texas businessman and philanthropist James Dondero excited animal lovers with a Linkedin post that promised an active engagement by him and his firm, Highland Capital Management (HCM), in helping to rehabilitate the Dallas Zoo’s hippopotamus exhibit. A fan favorite that had attracted people of all ages, the Dallas Zoo’s hippo exhibit had been closed since 2001, when their beloved hippo, Papa, died.
Dondero co-founded HCM in 1993 and swiftly built it into an enormously successful hedge-fund, which currently manages an estimated $20 billion in assets globally. As president (a role he continues in to this day), Dondero shrewdly analyzed market trends and excelled at leveraging his extensive knowledge of accounting and finance to make bold gambles in the field of alternative investments. Dondero and his firm not only prospered immensely but spearheaded the development of the Dallas-Fort Worth area financial business sector.
Clearly, Dondero has much to be thankful for. And many people — from Santa Barbara, California, to Dondero’s home base in the greater Dallas area — are quite grateful to him in turn. Untold numbers — in particular, young people, students, and veterans and their families — have been positively affected by his numerous and substantial philanthropic efforts over the years.
Through his company, James Dondero contributed $1 million to assist in the re-establishment of a section of the newly opened $14 million, 2.1-acre hippo exhibit. In coordination with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan, two mature hippos, a male and female, were chosen and are currently settling into their new home at the zoo. Included in the state-of-the-art exhibit is a 120,000-gallon waterhole that tries to recreate as closely as possible the animals’ African habitat. Zoo-goers can even view the hippos enjoying a soak via a special viewing area below the water.
In addition to Dondero’s $1 million, several individual philanthropists and charitable organizations deserve mention for their contributions to this uplifting project. These include the Eugene McDermott Foundation, Diane and Hal Brierley, and the Harold Simmons Foundation.
Visit this link to learn more about James Dondero .