Dondero is the co-founder and president of Highland Capital Management. He and his company give an estimated $3 million a year to various charitable organizations around the city. One of those donations went to the new hippo exhibit at the zoo, and it totaled one million dollars. This money went to the construction of a nearly 4,500 square foot lodge next to the hippo exhibit that can be used for educational displays and to host events.
In all, the hippo exhibit cost $14 million and took four years to make it a reality. The hippos can frolic in a 120,000 water tank that also has an 8×24 viewing window, allowing zoo visitors to get an up close and personal view of the animals. This marks the first time the Dallas Zoo has been home to hippos since 2001. The two in this new enclosure — Adhama and Biopelo — came to the Dallas Zoo from the Albuquerque Bio Park.
James Dondero has more than 30 years worth of experience in the field of credit and equity markets. He formed Highland Capital Management in 1993. Before that, he was a bond manager at American Express and the Chief Investment Officer for Protective Life. Dondero has donated money in the past to SMU’s Tower Scholars Program, Uplift Education, and the Perot Museum of Natural Science.