Dominique Goss: A Progressive Thought Leader in Corporate Philanthropy Impacting Equitable Change in Communities

The Most Inspiring Black Corporate Executives of the Year 2023

Dominique Goss, Executive Director at The M&T Bank Charitable Foundation, defines success as the harmonious symphony of personal fulfillment, positive impact on others, and the constant pursuit of growth, where achievement is measured not only in milestones but also in the genuine joy derived from the journey itself.

Embarking on a Corporate Philanthropy Career

Dominique embarked on her banking journey in 2006, following the birth of her first child, when she was 21 and enrolled at Temple University. Recognizing the need for stable income, she eagerly pursued both education and employment and commenced her banking career at Citizens Bank, initially in the retail sector. Transitioning to TD in 2011, her voyage encompassed diverse roles spanning Retail, Compliance, Marketing, and Legal departments.

From 2013 to 2018, Dominique was TD’s manager of charitable relationships and community outreach and worked for TD Bank’s charitable foundation for four years as senior group manager for corporate citizenship, where she was responsible for deploying $26 million in charitable investments and sponsorships from Maine to Florida, and for aligning the bank’s corporate giving goals with its broader strategic priorities.

As an influential, caring, and collaborative thought leader, recognized as forward-thinking within the corporate philanthropy industry, Dominique takes immense pride in her accomplishments during her tenure at TD Bank and considers one of her most significant achievements as spearheading a philanthropic strategy for the bank, all before reaching the age of 40.

“What we know matters, but who we are matters more” – Brene Brown

Dominique received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Temple University in 2008, and her master’s degree in business administration from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2018. She is a board member at organizations such as the Nonprofit Repositioning Fund, Greater Philadelphia Community Alliance, and Mural Arts Advocates, a partner in the Philadelphia Black Giving Circle, and a Connecting Leaders Fellow with the Association of Black Foundation Executives for 2019–2020.

Dominique believes that it was fate, preparedness, and a little luck that brought her to M&T. A former employee sent her the job posting with the tagline, “This is the perfect role for you.” M&T contracted with a search firm called Koya, with which Dominiquie was familiar and impressed.

“A few weeks before applying for the role, I had gone through a succession planning exercise with my leadership team. I realized my organization was both resilient and sustainable – multiple internal colleagues could step into my role and lead in the space. During my farewell tour, I continuously heard moments of sadness that were quickly followed by reassurance that the organization was well positioned for the future,” she recalls.

“To embark on the journey towards your goals and dreams requires bravery. To remain on that path requires courage. The bridge that merges the two is commitment.” – Steve Maraboli

Impacting Equitable Change with Equity, Responsiveness & Access

The M&T Charitable Foundation was established in 1993 to provide funding to thousands of nonprofit organizations that would better the lives of M&T’s customers, employees, and neighbors in the communities it serves. Its vision is to partner with communities to impact equitable change by living the core values of equity, responsiveness, and access, each of which are defined as follows:

  • Equity: Driving towards fairness and closing gaps in opportunity.
  • Access: Eliminating barriers and building towards inclusive participation.
  • Responsiveness: Meeting the needs of all people where they are and remaining adaptive.

The M&T Charitable Foundation provides grants and other resources to a wide variety of nonprofits that work in fields such as civic engagement, social welfare, academics, the arts, and medicine. It is led by local M&T employees organized into regional committees.

Local funding decisions are made by regional committees to ensure the bank’s charitable giving is tailored to meet the needs of its communities. M&T Bank’s community bank model is distinguished from other corporate donors by its emphasis on local decision-making.

More than 3,000 charities have benefited from M&T’s and the M&T Charitable Foundation’s combined $40 million in donations in 2022. More than 7,500 organizations have benefited from the nearly $300 million donated by M&T and the M&T Charitable Foundation over the past decade.

As the foundation’s executive director, Dominique guides the bank’s corporate giving strategy, ensuring that the M&T Charitable Foundation’s community impact is diverse, equitable, and accessible across all of the 12 states it serves. She’s responsible for the foundation’s overall management, which includes strategic planning, program design, execution, budgeting, human resource management, and public relations.

Dominique has a reputation for being a progressive philanthropic leader whose extensive experience in community development and charitable grants administration is refining the way the M&T Charitable Foundation thinks about corporate citizenship. Her dedication to helping those in need is a driving force behind their work in communities across the bank’s footprint in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic.

According to Dominique, M&T’s commitment to the communities it serves is remarkable, and this is why she’s so eager to support the efforts of the M&T Charitable Foundation to build upon the many strong partnerships it has with its community partners, to further elevate the bank’s philanthropic impact and fully realize its corporate citizenship.

“Each system is perfectly designed to give you exactly what you are getting today.” – W. Edwards Deming

Supporting Nonprofit Collaboratives Through the Amplify Fund

Dominique notes that the growth and success of the M&T Charitable Foundation were influenced by a combination of factors, including her dedication, previous experience, collaboration, compassion, and creativity.

She insists that while she played a role in identifying strategic opportunities and fostering partnerships, it was the collective efforts of the team and community that helped them make meaningful progress. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to contribute and humbled by the positive impact we’ve been able to achieve together,” she says.

On August 23, 2023, The M&T Charitable Foundation launched the second round of its Amplify Fund, a $25 million grant program impacting its Northern New England markets, to help low- and moderate-income communities as well as underrepresented groups. It was first announced in May 2022 as part of the merger between People’s United Bank and M&T Bank.

In the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, southern Maine, Long Island, and Westchester County in New York, a new request for proposals (RFP) is looking for nonprofit collaboratives with a focus on advancing equity through a racial equity and social justice lens.

During Phase I of the Amplify Fund a charitable investment of more than $11.8 million was distributed to 105 nonprofits across the former People’s United footprint, with some payments spread out over two or three years. Equity and environmental initiatives, mission-driven and capacity-building work, tenant and community organizing, and individual and small-business financial empowerment and education were all prioritized for funding.

Nonprofit groups with a shared mission to address a social issue can apply for grants of up to $3 million over three years through Amplify Fund’s Phase II. Initiatives that help low and moderate-income people, people of color, and other underrepresented groups move up the economic ladder, eliminate the racial wealth gap, and close other opportunity gaps will be prioritized.

Organizations that apply and demonstrate they have a solid plan in place to meet the stated needs will also be given preference. Eligible initiatives will provide solutions to the following documented problems that local communities face such as:

  • Family Stability: Affordable housing, food security, and access to quality and affordable childcare.
  • Income & Wealth Equity: Employment, small business development, homeownership, and financial empowerment initiatives.
  • Workforce Development: Education and training opportunities focused on upskilling and career pathways in high-growth sectors leading to economic prosperity.
  • Health Equity: Access to quality and affordable healthcare, with a priority on youth mental health and women and infant health.

According to Dominique, the Amplify Fund provides targeted investments that are equitable, accessible, and responsive to local needs with the hope that these grants will create a sustainable impact in local communities. “M&T is proud to support the important work of advancing equity for historically excluded groups, and we encourage all interested nonprofits to apply,” she declares.

“Every time we liberate a woman, we liberate a man.” – Margaret Mead

Be Authentic and Courageous and Elevate Others

While Dominique’s journey was marked by numerous obstacles, each served to fortify her leadership capabilities. In the earlier stages of her career, delegation posed a challenge due to a deep-seated trust deficit. Confronting bias and hurtful remarks instilled in her both courage and emotional fortitude. Some of the most valuable career counsel she obtained emerged from difficult dialogues – underscoring the notion that feedback is indeed a precious gift.

Through it all, Dominique has been dedicated to nurturing a culture of unwavering integrity and relentless innovation within her team. This involves lending an empathetic ear, creating safe spaces for expression, and infusing an element of delightful curiosity into their endeavors. She also observes that leaders of color consistently encounter a distinct array of challenges, particularly within the realm of corporate America.

“While there has been some noticeable progress, the pace of change remains slower than desired. Being authentic and courageous is of paramount importance. There are instances when I still find myself in a room as one of the few or the sole representatives. It is our responsibility to create more space, elevate others as we progress, and maintain a mindset that embraces abundance rather than scarcity,” she maintains.

“One is not born into this world to do everything but to do something.” – Henry David Thoreau