Highland Capital Management, L.P., an asset management and strategic investment firm based in Dallas, has hired Linda Owen to direct its charitable giving wing and give direction to its philanthropic activities. Highland founder James Dondero personally hired Owen to oversee the company’s burgeoning charitable activity sector, in large part because he recognized her history of success in creating viable public-private partnerships in the Dallas area.
The hire comes at an important time for Highland Capital Management: as its global status as a trusted alternative credit manager grows, the firm finds itself expanding its charitable activities tremendously in the Dallas region. Already, Highland contributes about $3 million annually to various local organizations, notably the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, the Dallas Zoo, and the Center for Brain Health. It is also heavily involved in causes such as Uplift Education and Snowball Express, and contributes large sums each year to the American Heart Association.
Linda Owen, who began her career at Wald, Harkrader & Ross after completing her both her bachelor’s and law degrees at the University of Texas in Austin, appears to be the perfect person to manage this array of charitable responsibilities. She has served as President and CEO at the Real Estate Council, where she oversaw the Dallas-Fort Worth real estate association’s non-profit activities, and at Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation, where she lead the charge for the construction of Kylde Warren Park. Owen has been involved with philanthropic organizations across Dallas and the state of Texas for her whole career, and her ambitions line up nicely with Highland’s stated operational goals.
James Dondero, who initiated contact with Owen and completed the hire, has long been a fixture on the Dallas business and philanthropy scenes. As one of the founders of Highland Capital Management, along with current colleague Mark Okada, Dondero is one of the world’s leading asset managers. With over $17 billion in current asset holdings, Highland has emerged as a global expert in matters of credit strategy, hedge fund analysis, private equity management and collateralized loan obligations. Highland also specializes in alternative investment strategies, and has delved into emerging market and natural resource investment classes in recent years.
Dondero founded the company with his partner in 1992, and since that time they have grown into a multinational business with offices in North America, South America and Asia. The services that Highland provides to its array of clients are invaluable and contribute to the thriving business scene in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. Even with the hiring of Linda Owen, it is unlikely that James will scale down his involvement in Highland’s charitable activities. He continues to sit on various boards and engage with local civic leaders in pursuit of the effective philanthropic approach that seems to elude so many successful businessmen. One thing is for certain: Dondero and Owen will form a powerful and energetic charitable team in the present day and for a long time to come.