Welcome to Good Places

A PROJECT’S SUCCESS SHOULD BE ASSESSED NOT ONLY IN TERMS OF ITS FINANCIAL PROFITABILITY BUT ALSO ITS IMPACT ON COMMUNITY AND THE ENVIRONMENT - (PEOPLE, PLANET, PROFIT).

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In collaboration with strong value-aligned community and capital partners,
Good Places aims to develop equitable and sustainable communities through place-based real estate projects.

Why we do it

Support The work that Matters

We believe that everyone can benefit from development done well. With the rapidly evolving real estate landscape in Atlanta, Good Places aims to support community impact organizations, faith-based and mission-minded asset owners to develop equitable and sustainable place-based real estate projects.

Who we are

Aligning THE APPROACH TO POSITIVE CHANGE

We are a development intermediary that strategically aligns "do good" asset owners with strong community organizations and with the "right" capital partners to  catalyze positive community impact through real estate.

Our Story

GOOD PLACES

Atlanta, Georgia

Drawing from over 25 years of combined local and international experience, Good Places focuses on neighborhood revitalization through their unique community-centered approach to development. Founded in 2017, Good Places is the first US affiliate of the Ethical Property Company, an international social real estate development business operating in five different countries worldwide.

ETHICAL PROPERTY 

United Kingdom

Founded in the UK in 1998, the Ethical Property family has grown from two people with a vision to family of six companies and one charity, operating in four countries and employing over 100 people. The Ethical Property Company is one of the largest social businesses in the UK, owning and/or managing a total of 23 Centres across England, Scotland and Wales, and providing office, meeting, event and retail space to over 1000 organisations each year. Since 1998, there has been investments from over 1350 shareholders which has enabled the Company to build a property portfolio valued in excess of £22 million in the UK alone. 

Each of the Ethical Property Centres are managed with the environment in mind and our financial, environmental and social performance is externally audited on an annual basis.

The UK Company is part of a wider international family of organisations providing similar services in the UK, Australia, Belgium, France, and now the United States, and each Company is committed to our ‘Quintessentials’, a set of five management principles designed to ensure that all members conform to our common aims, values and our Triple Bottom Line approach.

The Ethical Property Family is changing the way we all profit from property - socially, environmentally, and financially.

Meet the team

We're a diverse group of people with a broad skill set who share a passion for doing good.

Cherie Ong

Co-Founder & Principal

Cherie co-founded Good Places, US member of the Ethical Property family because she loves creating value- driven mission-aligned good places for local communities. With over 21+ years in strategy and management consulting experience in the private and non-profit sector working with Towers Watson, Deloitte and World Vision Australia, she thrives at the intersection of corporate, not-for-profit, faith-based & government organizations finding effective solutions to create innovative, sustainable and transformational outcomes.

Formerly, she was a Director and US representative of The Creations Group, a HK based real estate investment and development company headquartered in Atlanta. There she led the strategic direction and management team for The Creations Group $40M+ portfolio including over 400K sqft of commercial and mixed used properties in Atlanta. Most notably she led the creation of Atlanta’s first impact hub, the M Rich Center now the home of the Center for Civic Innovation and in partnership formed the South Downtown initiative, activating multiple programs and catalyzing new private investment. Cherie is a Board Member of the Urban Land Institute of Atlanta and speaks regularly at ULI, Atlanta Symposium Studies and Bisnow on the topic of foreign investment, social impact and equity.

John EJ Lee

Operations Director

EJ is an operational architect + impact strategist, who believes that intentionality + thoughtfully designed systems are essential to all facets of life. Born and raised in Atlanta, EJ is always looking for opportunities to challenge the status quo, pioneer new initiatives, and maximize social impact in his city. With 18+ years of leading and managing nonprofits and faith based teams for mission driven outcomes, he places a high value on doing good and positively influencing communities through the development of more equitable places for human flourishing.

Prior to coming onboard as the Operations Director for Good Places, EJ was the co-city director of Made to Flourish (501c3), a pastors training and resourcing network. He also served as an associate pastor of Karis Community Fellowship, the English-speaking ministry of the Korean Community Presbyterian Church of Atlanta. There EJ was involved in pioneering multiple ministry projects across different platforms, leadership development, and overseeing community-focused initiatives. 

EJ graduated with a BS in Biology from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL along with a M.Div from Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, GA.

In addition, EJ is trained as a leadership consultant with Giant Worldwide as a senior associate and holds an executive certificate in Social Impact Strategy from the University of Pennsylvania.

Nathan Penner

Finance

Nathan has a background in non-profit strategy, housing, and international development. He is passionate about using real estate and business to address issues of community development and social justice. Having worked and studied in southern Africa and southeast Asia, he is now focused on creating innovative solutions to the housing crisis and the systemic wealth gaps that shape Atlanta and the United States. Nathan has also started a small business, Mind the Gap Properties, seeking to create a new model of rental housing that allows residents to build equity. Nathan has served with the Mennonite Central Committee and Habitat for Humanity International.

Education:

Fuller Theological Seminary – PhD in Intercultural Studies and MA in Intercultural Studies

Fresno Pacific University – BA in Business Administration, Management and Information Systems

Paul Steele

Board of Advisors

Paul has a rare view of the world - he believes that business can do good while doing well; that blended value is possible. One of his favorite conversations is designing strategies to make the world a better place that involves business principles and produce sustainable organizations.

He plays many roles, but is not defined by any one of them. He is a thought leader and systems thinker in the pursuit of making great organizations and communities.

Paul is currently the CEO of donkey wheel foundation - a leading impact investment and philanthropic foundation, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of The Difference Incubator - a prominent incubator of investable social enterprises in Australia. He is also co-founder and an executive director of Ethical Property Australia - a property development and management company seeking to create spaces where organizations can come together to make a difference. He also advises, mentors and coaches; helping people make the world a better place, through the development of leadership, strategy and innovation.

He is passionate about being “invested in” the organizations he works with, and has a remarkable talent for combining human, intellectual and financial capital to bring about true blended value.

Carlos de Quesada

Board of Advisor

Continuing his 25+ years of business, managerial and finance work, in October 2011, Carlos founded VeraCruz Advisory, LLC focused on providing financial advisory and strategic consulting services to non-profit institutions. Prior to working with NFPs Carlos was a minority shareholder at the fastest growing Hispanic-owned company in the U.S., Liberty Power. Before pursuing his 2005-2007 entrepreneurial path at Liberty Power, Mr. de Quesada had 11 years of New York City-based international, for-profit banking experience with domestic and international institutions including Citigroup. The firm and its associates have originated, structured and closed more than $850 million in financings and interest rate derivatives for both for-profit and NFP clients across the U.S.

In April 2015, Carlos completed the Gulf Coast Community Foundation-hosted BoardSource® NFP board governance training and is now part of the GCCF’s 15-consultant cohort, Invest in Incredible technical assistance program. Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Carlos is a first generation American of Cuban parents and is bilingual (English-Spanish). Though traveling nationally, Carlos resides in Bradenton, Florida with his wife, Cynthia, of 29 years, 21-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter.

Carlos graduated from the Florida State University in 1987 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Finance. He served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1988-1991 with duty stations and deployments to Japan (Okinawa), South Korea, the Marianna Islands, Honduras, and the Persian Gulf. Following his military service, Carlos earned an M.B.A. in 1993 from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Kyle Reis

Board of advisors

Kyle joined Cooper Carry in 2006, was made a Principal in 2019, and became the firm’s President & CEO in 2021.  He leads more than 300 employees in the Atlanta, Washington DC and New York offices.  Kyle served as the leader of the firm’s Urban Design and Planning Studio from 2017 to 2021. Kyle’s architecture background and 15 years of planning experience has led to his passion for quality urban design and place making.  He strives for an inclusive design process in which the best ideas rise to the top, public spaces are made meaningful, and people have a diversity of options in their community.

Kyle graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor of Architecture in 2006 and Georgia State University with a Master in Business Administration in 2013.  He is an Association of Certified Planners (AICP) Certified Professional, member of the American Planning Association (APA), Georgia Planning Association (GPA), and a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP).  Kyle is a registered Architect and member of NCARB and the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Meet the team

We're a diverse group of people with a broad skill set who share a passion for doing good.

Cherie Ong

Co-Founder & Principal

Cherie co-founded Good Places, US member of the Ethical Property family because she loves creating value- driven mission-aligned good places for local communities. With over 18+ years in strategy and management consulting experience in the private and non-profit sector working with Towers Watson, Deloitte and World Vision Australia, she thrives at the intersection of corporate, not-for-profit, faith-based & government organizations finding effective solutions to create innovative, sustainable and transformational outcomes.

Formerly, she was a Director and US representative of The Creations Group, a HK based realestate investment and development company headquartered in Atlanta. There she led the strategic direction and management team for The Creations Group $40M+ portfolio including over 400K sqft of commercial and mixed used properties in Atlanta. Most notably she led the creation of Atlanta’s first impact hub, the M Rich Center now the home of the Center for Civic Innovation and in partnership formed the South Downtown initiative, activating multiple programs and catalyzing new private investment. Cherie is a Board Member of the Urban Land Institute of Atlanta and speaks regularly at ULI, Atlanta Symposium Studies and Bisnow on the topic of foreign investment, social impact and equity.

Paul Steele

Co-Founder & Asset Manager

Paul has a rare view of the world - he believes that business can do good while doing well; that blended value is possible. One of his favorite conversations is designing strategies to make the world a better place that involves business principles and produce sustainable organizations.

He plays many roles, but is not defined by any one of them. He is a thought leader and systems thinker in the pursuit of making great organizations and communities.

Paul is currently the CEO of donkey wheel foundation - a leading impact investment and philanthropic foundation, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of The Difference Incubator - a prominent incubator of investable social enterprises in Australia. He is also co-founder and an executive director of Ethical Property Australia - a property development and management company seeking to create spaces where organizations can come together to make a difference. He also advises, mentors and coaches; helping people make the world a better place, through the development of leadership, strategy and innovation.

He is passionate about being “invested in” the organizations he works with, and has a remarkable talent for combining human, intellectual and financial capital to bring about true blended value.

John EJ Lee

Operations Director

EJ is a conceptual architect, who believes that intentionality and thoughtful design are essential in all facets of life. Born and raised in Atlanta, EJ is always looking for opportunities to challenge the status quo, pioneer new initiatives, and maximize impact. With 15+ years of leading and managing nonprofits and faith based teams for mission driven outcomes, EJ places a high value on doing good and positively influencing the lives of people. 

In addition to Good Places, EJ is the co-city director of Made to Flourish (501c3), a pastors training and resourcing organization as well as a Senior Associate for Giant Worldwide, a global leadership consultancy. 

Prior to coming onboard as the project coordinator for Good Places, EJ served as an associate pastor of Karis Community Fellowship, the English-speaking ministry of the Korean Community Presbyterian Church of Atlanta. There he was involved in pioneering multiple ministry projects across different platforms, leadership development, and overseeing community-focused events.

EJ graduated with a BS in Biology from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL along with a M.Div from Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, GA.

Jean Lim

Design Director

Jean Lim is a creative in the design field who believes that well curated, thoughtfully designed interiors can transform lives and attitudes. With a B.F.A (Hons) in Interior Design and a M.F.A (Hons) in Furniture Design from the Savannah College of Art and Design, she specializes in commercial adaptive reuse projects focused on promoting social enterprise and community building.

Jean is a serial multitask-er who champions the cause for innovative design, done sustainably wherever possible, but always with enthusiasm. The common thread is her passion for creativity and the knowledge that there is always room for curiosity. Buoyed by her sense of adventure, Jean has worked in Australia, Asia, the US and Africa. As well as commercial interior design consultation, she has also designed and built theatre sets, preserved antiques and historic buildings, headed up a director of creative design role as well as lectured with the Built Environment faculty at Uganda Martyrs University. Don’t let her size fool you—she’s most at home when wielding a power tool.

Jean’s aesthetic is industrial-eclectic with a twist, timeless with a broad hint of edge. She prides herself on her attention to detail, obsession with reuse/up-cycling and love for local craftspeople who are passionate about genuinely great design.

Carlos de Quesada and Dan Flanagan

Veracruz Advisors LLC

VeraCruz Advisory, LLC is a professional services firm focused on serving not-for-profit institutions by providing financial advisory and business (enterprise) practice consulting services. Professional service areas include mission-based strategic planning, financial transaction structuring and execution, Board level organizational governance assessment, budgeting, financial projection/model development, cash flow scenario analyses, and mapping and integration of revenue-generating and expense activities. The firm and its associates have originated, structured and closed more than $850 million in financings (both bank loans and bond issues) and interest rate derivatives for both for-profit and NFP clients across the U.S.

Current clients and prospects are typically national in scope and include foundations-endowments, advocacy organizations, performing arts enterprises, higher education institutions, schools, community development funds, social services providers, community development corporations and faith-based entities.

Our Core Values

Built around strong management, values, transparency and a firm conviction that it is possible to make money whilst doing good, we have worked hard to ensure that our values remain as strong today as they were established in 1998.

Fairness 

Through the provision of property we support organizations that are striving to create a more equal and just society​

Sustainability

We support physical and social structures that lead to a sustainable lifestyle with a positive environmental impact that uses only our fair share of the planet’s resources​

Responsibility

every decision we make will take account of financial, environmental and social impacts​

Partnership

we believe that the world’s problems are better solved by people working together rather than alone​

Learning

we will implement a process of continual learning, with regular evaluations of our services and practices to ensure we constantly evolve the way we do business with the aim of ensuring best practice

Our Quintessentials

Across the Ethical Property Family,
We are committed to these 5 management Principles

The Triple Bottom Line 

investment in Ethical Property offers investors a financial, social and environmental return.

Ethical client criteria 

property and services are provided to organisations that meet the Ethical criteria.

Ethical governance 

Ethical Property maintains a high standard of governance, transparency and honesty in their business, and has governance procedures in place which safeguard its ethicality.

Transparent reporting 

Ethical Property’s social, environmental and financial performance is reported clearly, openly and honestly to stakeholders.

Ethical management 

Ethical Property manages its business in a way that demonstrates its ethicality.

Our places

Places that seek to change the way we all profit from property -
financially, socially, and environmentally

AWETHU HOUSE

340 AUBURN AVENUE

The Awethu House, a two story restored brick building on the corner of Auburn Avenue and Hilliard Street, is the 1st property in the Good Places development portfolio. Through community engagement efforts lead by Lalanya Abner in 2017, this property was named the Awethu House, or the "People's House," originating from “Amandla Awethu!” (translated “Power to the People”), a popular rallying cry in South Africa during the days of resistance against the apartheid. Extending less than two miles eastward from Peachtree Street, Auburn Avenue was once the commercial, cultural, and spiritual epicenter of African American life in Atlanta prior to the civil rights movement. Given the historical significance of this beloved community where the property is located, the Awethu House was developed with the community in mind, balancing its revitalization while seeking to honor and preserve its rich history.

Opening in May 2018, the Awethu House will be home to three amazing tenants, such as the GuildRemerge and Atlanta Breakfast Club. If you are looking to pair delicious chicken & waffles with equitably sourced single-origin Phoenix Roasters coffee served up by the Atlanta Breakfast Club, or co-work at Remerge while co-living with some change makers of the Guild, make the Awethu House your next stop on Auburn Avenue.

Get in Touch

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