James Dondero is the co-founder and current President at Highland Capital Management. Highland Capital Management has become well known in the Dallas, TX area for many different reasons. Highland Capital Management is a financial investment firm that has repeatedly shown the ability to take innovative new approaches to handling their clients money. Perhaps more importantly, Dondero and the rest of the group at Highland Capital have taken a massive interest in the well-being of their community.James Dondero and Highland Capital are in the news once again, this time for helping a philanthropy dedicated to revamping the Dallas Zoo and bringing beloved hippos to town to be protected and conserved.
The Dallas Zoo is one of the most popular attractions in all of Dallas and it makes sense that people would want to see it fixed up. However, zoos aren’t primary places to get funding and as a result the establishments have to rely on the giving nature of the people who come to visit. James Dondero, a major philanthropist of his own accord, took an intense interest in the zoo and decided to simply put his money where his mouth is. Dondero donated a huge $1 million sum in order to help get the new Hippo Habitat, aptly named The Hippo Habitat, back to reality.
Dondero’s massive donation was just one part of many who grouped together in order to bring Hippos back to Texas. The Dallas Zoo ended up needing nearly $14 million in total in order to work on the habitat and the money would end up pouring in. Dondero’s personal donation went toward creating a 5,000 sq/ft lodge, now known as the Highland Capital Lodge, where visitors can see the hippos up close while also engaging in a variety of educational kiosks in order to learn more about the beautiful animal. The entire Hippo Habitat consumes about 2.1 acres of land and it features a gigantic waterhole, modeled after the African environment hippos are used to, that is filled with 120,000 gallons of water. The submerged 24 x 8 viewing window gives visitors the ultimate up close look.