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James Dondero is unlike any other individuals working in the financial industry: he is a dedicated philanthropist whom is motivated to ensure that ordinary people in Dallas are able to have better lives. As the co-founder of Highland Capital Management, he built a career around managing money. This career began at JP Morgan Chase, where he was responsible for the management of $1 Billion in Fixed Income Assets. This experience early in his career led to a new position at American Express, where he also managed $1 Billion in assets. Following his experience at American Express, he became the Chief Investment Officer at Protective Life. He was able to start his own company in 1993 that became Highland Capital Management. This became one of the largest alternative credit managers in the USA. Private equity, credit hedge funds, and an array of credit accounts are among the assets which he manages.

His charity work is centered around projects related to the Dallas zoo. He donated $1 million to rebuild the hippo habitat for the zoo after an elderly hippo died, and the zoo named the hippo habitat after Highland Capital Management. This comes in addition to a donated to the Perot museum of Natural Sciences and the Bush Presidential Library. Mr. Dondero has also contributed $3 Million to the Dallas Foundation, which then became the Dallas Highland Foundation in honor of the contribution. This charity contributes to Veteran, Educational, and Health Care causes. Philanthropy was very important to him from the very beginning of his company, where he knew that he wanted to make a difference in the community.

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