Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences Human Rights Events Undergraduate News

Big Path Capital Dell Family Creates Endowment Fund for SMU Human Rights Program

Yahoo Finance

Originally Posted: April 5, 2021

J.D. Dell, managing director and partner at Big Path Capital, the leading investment bank for impact companies and private equity funds, and Ann Marie Dell, who is currently enrolled in a Southern Methodist University doctorate program, are pleased to announce a $500,000 commitment toward the endowment of the Human Rights Program in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

Ann is in her final semester of coursework in the Doctorate of Liberal Studies program in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, and Ann’s concentration and research focus is in the area of Human Rights and Holocaust studies under Human Rights Program Director Dr. Rick Halperin. The Dells’ initial $250,000 gift will establish the Ann and J.D. Dell Endowment Fund for Human Rights. The Dells have set aside another $250,000 to be used as a matching gift to encourage other contributions. For every $2 that others donate to the program, the Dells’ endowment fund will match $1.

“My wife, Ann, was, and continues to be, the driving force in our family’s interest in the study of human rights and the important role SMU’s Human Rights program plays in educating and creating young, servant leaders who are willing to take on and solve some of our society’s and the world’s most important and pressing human issues. Simply put, we believe in the Human Right’s Program’s mantra: ‘There is no such thing as a lesser person,’ and fully support the Program’s teaching, mentorship, travel and enrichment opportunities which advance its mission,” Mr. Dell said.

“The SMU Human Rights Program’s goals, objectives and outcomes perfectly complement Big Path Capital’s work in the private sector,” he continued. “Big Path helps corporate and fund clients raise capital to create and promote profitable business models and plans that are helping solve some of our country’s and world’s most pressing environmental and social issues, including those involving diversity, inclusion and access to goods, services and opportunities for individuals and communities who are underserved. We are all better when everyone has opportunities to pursue their hopes, dreams and livelihoods, without regard to arbitrary classifications like race, ethnic background, religion, sex and sexual orientation, physical or mental limitations or zip codes.”

The SMU Human Rights Program empowers its students to become change-making leaders who understand, promote and defend human rights. The program is one of only seven college and university human rights programs in the U.S., and the only one in the South. From its inception in 2006, the program has grown to well over 200 students, majoring and minoring in human rights.

“We are grateful for the generosity of Ann and J.D. Dell, who are longtime friends and supporters of SMU,” said Brad Cheves, vice president for Development and External Affairs at SMU. We are thrilled at the prospect of attracting more commitments thanks to the Dells’ matching gift offer.”

About Big Path

Founded in 2007, Big Path Capital is the leading investment bank for positive impact companies and funds. Big Path has worked with more impact companies and funds than any other investment bank in the world. Companies and funds engage Big Path Capital for capital raises, company exits, and founder and shareholder liquidity. Big Path is proud to be a certified B Corporation since 2007.

About SMU

SMU is the nationally ranked global research university in the dynamic city of Dallas. SMU’s alumni, faculty and more than 12,000 students in eight degree-granting schools demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit as they lead change in their professions, communities and the world.

About the SMU Human Rights Program

Founded in 2006, SMU’s Human Rights Program at the Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences works with students and members of the local and global community to promote and defend human rights. Through an interdisciplinary framework, the HRP emphasizes the simple truth that “there is no such thing as a lesser person.”

To learn more about the SMU Human Rights Program, please contact Clayton Ellis, Director of Development for Dedman College at SMU, at 214-768-9202 or

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Christina Drexler
BackBay Communications

Clayton Ellis
Director of Development for Dedman College at SMU