Dylan Goodman ’16 on Finding and Sharing a Sense of Belonging

Dylan Goodman

Dylan Goodman ’16

Dylan Goodman ’16 understands the importance of finding your “third place”—a place outside of home and work where people come together and build community. 

Fittingly, he’s spent the past two years working on the leadership and development teams at the Marlene Meyerson Jewish Community Center (JCC), a “third place” for the Jewish community of New York City. 

“The original purpose of the JCC was to connect Jewish immigrants who came to the US,” Goodman said. “Since then, the centers have taken on a larger role of being a social service organization, a gathering space and a one-stop shop for all stages of life. We meet so many different kinds of needs, but everything is rooted in social and emotional connection.” 

After graduating from Davidson, Goodman moved to Boston to work for a labor union, and then for Keshet, a national grassroots organization supporting LGBTQ equality in Jewish life. Working in fundraising during the start of the pandemic, he learned the importance of outreach and connection in times of crisis.

“During hard times, you don't want to disappear from people's radars,” he said. “That's actually when they need to hear from you the most, even if you're not asking them for anything. I’ve learned that people will remember the ways you show up when things are tough.”

Goodman graduated from Davidson as part of the first official class of Gender and Sexuality Studies (GSS) majors, an experience that sharpened his passion for organizing and fostering community. When he first arrived on campus, visibly queer events and social organizations were difficult to find. He found a sense of belonging among the other GSS students, in the Theatre Department and by starting Davidson’s first gender-neutral hall. By the end of his four years, he felt queer life at Davidson had changed for the better.

His experiences as a student taught him to think critically, to forge genuine relationships and to communicate with kindness and clarity—all skills that have helped him succeed in his current role. 

“Davidson solidified a true love of learning that I carry with me every day,” Goodman said. “A lot of my job depends on writing persuasively, understanding the way people think and knowing what motivates people to act.”

Looking forward, Goodman plans to continue working to make the JCC a place where community members can experience everything from social events to childcare to arts and athletics. He’s found his “third place” and is dedicated to providing that space for others.

“So much of your quality of life is tied to your job,” Goodman said. “I think it’s important to remind people that your career doesn’t define everything. It’s important to find time and space to engage with the things you love outside of work, to protect your soul and to protect your ability to think for yourself.”


  • December 11, 2023