Highland Capital Management recently provided the George W. Bush Presidential Center in University Park, Texas with a $10 million endowment, to help the center host programs for the public. The announcement of the gift was made by James Dondero — who is Highland’s president and one of its co-founders — and Kenneth Hersh, who is the CEO of the Bush Center.
As part of the agreement, Highland will be the presenting sponsor for a program called “Engage at the Bush Center,” which will bring to the center during the course of the year leaders, authors and those in the news. These people will participate in a range of discussions and lectures.
Hersh said that Highland was an early support of the center and that it has helped it become what it is now. He called Highland’s endowment a special gift that will also be an investment. He further said that he was especially grateful to Mr. Dondero for both his effort and his commitment to the center, and that he looks forward to continuing to work with him in bringing high quality programs and speakers to the Dallas area.
Previously, Highland Capital Management donated $5 million to the center. The company was one of the Founding Benefactors of the center, which helped fund the creation of the center in 2013.
James Dondero said that his company has been impressed by the influence of the center, and how it has helped the local community. He believes that programs such as the Engage series will thoughtfully provoke discussions about important issues. He added that Highland was pleased to contribute to the center and that he looked forward to being part of its long-term future.
Among the events included in the Engage series will be an annual one called the “Highland Capital Lecture.” Mr. Dondero will also join the center’s executive advisory council.
The first event in the Engage series was a two-part program in which the National Constitution Center collaborated with the center to present “Constitutional Conversations: Justice Scalia’s Memorable Speeches / James Madison & Today’s Media.” Participating in the event was — among others — Justice Scalia’s son Christopher and Jeffrey Rosen, who is the president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, and who is also an expert on James Madison.
The Bush Center has been presenting the Engage series since 2015, and the events have not only attracted large crowds but also well known speakers. Included among those who have appeared at the events have been former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels, George W. Bush’s daughter Jenna Bush Hager, former first lady Barbara Bush and former CIA and NSA director General Michael Hayden.
James Dondero has spent the last 30 years working in the equity and credit markets, with a focus on high-yield investments. Dondero is considered one of the pioneers in the development of the collateralized loan obligation (CLO) market, and he has helped advance products and solutions for retail and institutional investors not just in America but throughout the world.