How Jim Dondero Turns Alternative Investment Bets Into Wins

Jim Dondero co-founded alternative investing firm Highland Capital Management in 1993 and continues to serve as the President of the company. Under his leadership, the company has over $15 billion in alternative assets under management. He’s made a number of daring calls during his time with Highland Capital Management, including investing in American Airlines when everyone else was running away from its stock and buying Argentina’s currency when the country was seemingly mired in unsolvable problems.While one would think that someone willing to take these types of bold moves would be outspoken and brash, Jim Dondero is actually introverted and prone to more thinking than talking. This has served him well in his career as his thinking has led to great gains for Highland Capital Management and its clients.

The initial alternative investment class that Jim Dondero focused on when founding Highland Capital Management was on nonbank collateralized loan obligations. He was a pioneer in this asset class and success in this led to the company to soon start investing in other alternative investments. They launched their first alternative mutual fund in 2000 and have continued to introduce new funds ever since.Jim Dondero has been in the financial industry for over 30 years. After graduating from the University of Virginia with top honors he started his professional career at Morgan Guaranty. Before founding Highland Capital Management he also worked for American Express as a Portfolio Manager and Corporate Bond Analyst, and at Protective Life as its Chief Investment Officer.

Jim Dondero strongly believes in giving back to the community. He supports a number of nonprofits including those that are involved in education, public policy, and veteran’s affairs. Since 2005, Highland Capital Mangement has donated more than $10 million to various charities around the world. Among the many nonprofits he has supported are the Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation, the Dallas Zoo, the Center for Brain Health, and the George W. Bush Presidential Library. He also donated his expertise and time, including being named as a member of the Executive Board for the Cox School of Business which is located at Southern Methodist University.

Highland Capital: Success And Charity

The value of a business is not judged solely on the amount of money that it makes, but also the amount of money and resources it gives to charity for non profit initiatives. These days, it is growing more important for businesses to get involved in some kind of charity so that they can gain the trust of more customers who have a heart towards those that are suffering. Fortunately, Highland Capital Management has given a lot to nonprofit organizations so that they can help those that are in need for various reasons. After all, the needy are people as well.


The founder, James Dondero believes in the importance of community. He has taken the time to look at his community in order to see where there are needs. Business owners that have an eye for their community as well as other communities show that they are thoughtful as well as caring. After all, they understand that they are no better than those that are struggling. They have also shown understanding that it could’ve easily be them. James Dondero and others are aware that there are many factors that could influence where a person might wind up at any stage in their lives.


While James Dondero is very successful and wise when it comes to his investments, he takes the time to share his wealth with those who are not so successful. At the same time, he shows a lot of wisdom in who he gives to. He understands that people that find themselves in unfavorable circumstances wind up there for different reasons. When he makes donations, he looks for local organizations to make donations to. He also looks at many national and international nonprofit organizations because he understands that poverty and other struggles are global by nature. He also knows that some countries are not as well off as others.