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Museum of Nature & Science Announces Two $1-Million Challenge Grants from Highland Capital Management and Atmos Energy Benefiting Perot Museum

Perot Museum of Nature & Science

Perot Museum of Nature & Science

Momentum continues to explode as the Museum of Nature & Science gears up for its annual Dinner in the Wild gala. Today, Museum leaders announced two $1-million challenge grants from Dallas-based Highland Capital Management, L.P., and Atmos Energy Corporation that will extend matching gift opportunities for the new $185 million Perot Museum. The Museum, currently under construction in Victory Park, is set to open in early 2013.

Thanks to the donors’ generosity, the Museum has now raised over $170 million of the $185 million campaign goal, which provides funding for site acquisition, exhibition planning and design, construction of the new building, education programs and an endowment.

“These wonderful gifts from Highland Capital Management and Atmos Energy bring us that much closer to finishing out our $185 million campaign to build the Perot Museum,” said Forrest Hoglund, chair of the Perot Museum expansion campaign. “This is another big boost for science education, and we encourage everyone to take advantage of the extended matching opportunities available for gifts of all sizes from now through December 31, 2011.”

For their generosity, the two Dallas-based businesses will be recognized as co-sponsors of Dinner in the Wild 2011 and also will receive various donor benefits, including naming opportunities at the new museum.

“Dallas is our home; it’s where we raise our families and educate our children. We at Highland Capital Management are delighted to play a small role in bringing world-class science, math and technology education to our region,” said James Dondero, president of Highland Capital Management. “The Perot Museum is going to be an amazing asset for our city.”

“With Atmos Energy being a technology-based company, we understand the great need to present science in a compelling, exciting and even entertaining manner,” added Kim R. Cocklin, president and chief executive officer of Atmos Energy Corporation. “We see this museum as a powerful vehicle that will inspire young people to pursue science careers and also inform and educate everyone about the important role science plays in our lives.”

Event co-chairs Christie and Frank Scardino promise that this year’s Dinner in the Wild, set for Thursday, November 17, at Fair Park’s Automobile Building, will be the “biggest and the best in Museum history.”

The theme for this year’s party is Night at the Museum, which will provide guests a sneak peek of the future and showcase the Perot Museum’s 11 exhibit halls. Christie Scardino happily reports that tickets to the event are already sold out with a crowd of 1,600 expected.

Honorary chairs of Dinner in the Wild are Margot and Ross Perot. The underwriting co-chairs are Anne and Ross Helbing and Caroline and Glenn Gehan, and the auction chair is Lauren Glazer. Lending support is a stellar advisory committee and a dynamic 200-member host committee.

The Dinner in the Wild Patron Party is slated for Wednesday, October 19, at the home of Lillie and Phil Romano. The Romanos are underwriting the party along with gala sponsors Highland Capital and Atmos Energy. Eatzi’s is donating the food and wine for the evening, Garden Gate Floral Design will provide floral décor, and Jack Boles will underwrite the Patron Party event valet.

Described by The Dallas Morning News architecture critic Scott Cantrell as “the boldest piece of modern architecture to hit Dallas,” the Perot Museum of Nature & Science is designed by 2005 Pritzker Prize Laureate Thom Mayne and his California-based firm Morphosis. The new museum is located on a 4.7-acre site at 1155 Broom St. at the northwest corner of Woodall Rodgers Freeway and Field Street in Victory Park adjacent to downtown Dallas. The structure will stand approximately 170 feet tall.

To donate online, as well as to learn more about the benefits of giving, visit natureandscience.org or call 972-201-0555.

About the Museum of Nature & Science

The Museum of Nature & Science – the result of a unique merger in 2006 between the Dallas Museum of Natural History, The Science Place and the Dallas Children’s Museum – is an AAM-accredited non-profit educational organization located in Dallas’s Fair Park. In support of its mission to inspire minds through nature and science, the museum delivers exciting, engaging and innovative visitor experiences through its education, exhibition, and research and collections programming for children, students, teachers, families and life-long learners. The facility also includes the TI Founders IMAX® Theater and a cutting-edge digital planetarium. The Museum of Nature & Science is supported in part by funds from the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, the Texas Commission on the Arts and HP. The Museum of Nature & Science also is building a new $185-million museum on a 4.7-acre site in Victory Park to complement the Fair Park facilities. To learn more about the Museum of Nature & Science, please visit natureandscience.org.

About Highland Capital Management, L.P.

Highland Capital Management, L.P. is an SEC-registered investment adviser with approximately $23 billion of assets under management. It is one of the largest and most experienced global alternative credit managers, specializing in bank loans, high-yield credit, distressed debt, structured products, real assets, and long-short equities.

Highland’s diversified client base includes public pension plans, foundations and endowments, corporations, financial institutions, fund of funds, governments, high net-worth individuals, and mutual fund investors. To best meet the different goals of these investors, Highland offers a variety of products, including credit funds, private equity-style funds, managed separate accounts, hedge funds, retail mutual funds, and collateralized loan obligations (CLOs).

Highland is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and maintains offices in New York, London, Singapore, and Seoul. For more information about Highland Capital Management, visit hcmlp.com.

About Atmos Energy

Atmos Energy Corporation, headquartered in Dallas, is currently the country’s largest natural-gas-only distributor, serving more than 3 million natural gas distribution customers in more than 1,600 communities in 12 states from the Blue Ridge Mountains in the East to the Rocky Mountains in the West. Atmos Energy also provides natural gas marketing and procurement services to industrial, commercial and municipal customers primarily in the Midwest and Southeast and manages company-owned natural gas pipeline and storage assets, including one of the largest intrastate natural gas pipeline systems in Texas. Atmos Energy is a Fortune 500 company. For more information, visit atmosenergy.com.

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