Architectural firm celebrates 25 years with 25 good deeds

Credit: Phil Skinner

Credit: Phil Skinner

An architectural firm arguably best known for designing part of Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium is giving back to the community that helped it achieve a milestone anniversary.

Goode Van Slyke Architecture is taking on 25 community service projects to celebrate 25 years in business, doing everything from gathering food and toys for local charities to making a multi-year commitment to impoverished children on the other side of the globe.

Firm co-founder and partner Paul Van Slyke said giving back to the community – especially to the young and less advantaged – has “always been part of our DNA.”

“From Day 1, we began fostering ties to various communities,” he said.

When it opened in 1996, the year Atlanta hosted the Summer Olympics, the firm – co-founded by Chris Goode and Van Slyke – was focused largely on designing K-12 schools. Its portfolio has grown to include mixed-use and multifamily residential communities, ranging from luxury to affordable; senior and student housing; museums; cultural centers; healthcare and government facilities; and master plans for large-scale developments and redevelopments. Its work at Mercedes-Benz Stadium includes the offices of the Atlanta Falcons.

“We’re proud of having 25 years under our belt,” Van Slyke said. “That’s actually kind of difficult [to achieve] in our industry.”

Credit: Special to The AJC

Credit: Special to The AJC

The firm weathered the construction downturns associated with the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Great Recession of 2008, and, lately, the pandemic.

“We’ve gone from limping along in the recession to doing really well,” Van Slyke said, noting that the firm only recently opened a second office in Greensboro, N.C.

With 25 good deeds to mark 25 years, the firm is “organizing something we’ve been doing for a long time.

“It’s not a foreign idea. It’s just taking it up a notch,” Van Slyke said.

This includes donating its architects’ design talents to creating office space for one of Atlanta’s oldest charities, The Empty Stocking Fund.

Some of the “good deeds” involve donating time more than money. For instance, Goode Van Slyke employees created hand-written notes and cards to deliver to participants in Atlanta’s Meals on Wheels program during the pandemic. The idea was to let these seniors know that, in this time of isolation, they have not been forgotten, said Crystal Genter, the firm’s marketing coordinator.

As probably its largest anniversary undertakings, the firm is supporting Himalayan Children’s Charities, a 21-year-old Atlanta nonprofit that helps orphaned, abandoned and impoverished children in Nepal.

The firm and one of its employees will be helping five children try to break out of poverty before adulthood, largely through care, mentoring and higher education.

“You talk about $1 making a difference,” Van Slyke said. “Of course, we’re contributing more than $1, but every dollar is incredibly effective in this program.”

Bruce Keenan, co-founder and president of Himalayan Children’s Charities, said the nonprofit “could not do this without folks like Paul and Crystal.

Credit: Phil Skinner

Credit: Phil Skinner

“It takes a village,” Keenan said. “With their support, we give the kids an opportunity to succeed.”

To date, the firm has undertaken about half of its 25 good deeds and spent about $25,000 to $30,000, an amount that Van Slyke knows pales in comparison to the charitable gifts of large corporations.

“But it’s big in its impact,” Van Slyke said. “And we’re sticking true to our cause.”

And that cause, he said, for him and many others who choose architecture as a career, is to “design these cool buildings, have fun with that” and “impact the community in a positive way.”


Goode Van Slyke Architecture is celebrating 25 years in business by performing 25 good deeds. The firm, located in Atlanta near the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, is ramping up support for some organizations it has backed previously. The firm also reached out to its business associates and clients for suggestions on worthy projects.

Here’s a partial list of the beneficiaries of the firm’s good deeds

  • Empty Stocking Fund
  • Richard Allen Outreach for Big Bethel AME church celebration of the 90th year for the morality play “Heaven Bound”
  • Grove Park Foundation
  • Meals on Wheels recipients
  • Himalayan Children’s Charities
  • The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Man of the Year campaign
  • Mt. Moriah Baptist Church grand opening
  • PAWS Atlanta
  • NOMAtlanta Project Pipeline Program, a camp for kids
  • Atlanta Community Food Bank
  • Livable Buckhead
  • Rockdale County Schools
  • Trees Atlanta