Meridith Baer Home partners with Girls Inc. of Los Angeles
Meridith Baer founded the revolutionary business of home staging by accident. Credited as operating the first premier home staging company, she started Meridith Baer Home nearly 25 years ago. The reason was simple: she needed a place to store her furniture.
From this humble beginning, she has grown her business to style over 2,000 homes a year through luxury home staging and interior design services, with warehouses located across the country. But beyond her success, she is a true philanthropist at heart.
“At the end of the day, it feels so good to give back,” Baer said. “It makes us feel really useful about what we are doing—giving it away to people who really need it.”
For Baer, staging is a second, if not third career. Prior to her staging company, she was a professional journalist, screenwriter and actor. As a long time West Los Angeles resident, she did not start her company until she was in her fifties.
“I staged my first home when I was 50,” Baer said. “I moved out of my house and did not have a place to store the furniture so I put it in others' houses.”
Meridith Baer Home services high-end luxury homes across the country, including Culver City, Playa del Rey, Santa Monica, Westchester and other beach cities. With warehouses in South Gate, Oakland and the East Coast, Baer has accumulated a massive amount of furniture and wants to help people who need it through her philanthropy efforts.
“When I look at a space, I think about how it could be…how it might come to life,” Baer said.
Baer brought on Quyen Ngo to oversee and expand the company’s Giving Back efforts. Baer met Ngo when she became a trustee at The Archer School for Girls. Later, she hired Ngo to head her philanthropy efforts, as well as her company's marketing. Ngo works with Baer and her team to bridge efforts between the company and nonprofit organizations.
“The designers and crew members carve out time within their very busy schedules for our Giving Back efforts, and are always happy to do so,” Ngo said. “It is incredibly important to us that our projects make a real impact and difference, particularly for those most in need. There is a depth of gratitude that is truly on both sides.”
This year, the company has already donated over 30 truckloads of furnishings across the country, with a particular focus on nonprofits that offer housing to underserved and at-risk families, education to future female leaders, and deeper connections to the arts for all.
Currently, Baer and Ngo are working on another passion project in conjunction with Girls Inc. of Los Angeles, a national 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that has been around for 158 years. Although the organization has a long history, the LA chapter started in 2016, with Erin Ross as the CEO since September 2021. She is in charge of fundraising, hiring and running the local chapter.
“Girls. Inc is a nonprofit that offers free after-school programs for girls in select LAUSD schools,” Ross said. “Our programs help girls tap into their strengths and amplify their talents. It is important that the girls have a space on campus where they feel like they can be themselves. Meridith Baer Home helped us transform regular classrooms into cool and engaging spaces for our girls. Now they can call it a clubhouse.”
Since August 2021, Meridith Baer Home has partnered with Girls Inc. to upgrade two classrooms. The most recent project was completed in April 2022 at Marina del Rey Middle School. Girls Inc. selects LAUSD schools to provide their free services to based on need. Marina del Rey Middle School rates “high needs” on the Student Equity Needs Index, a holistic measure that goes beyond just free and reduced lunch rates to look at the environmental and other community factors that impact students' ability to learn and thrive.
Marina del Rey is also part of LA Unified’s Black Student Achievement Plan, as it has a disproportionate population of Black students compared to the rest of the district and has been prioritized for additional programs and support. Recognizing the need for support and additional resources, Girls Inc. stepped in to serve this school in the local community. Girls Inc. also has plans to expand its reach to Stoner Elementary in the fall to support those girls as well.
Because Girls Inc. is a small nonprofit, all of its funding goes directly to providing free services for the girls. They don’t have the resources to update a classroom to make it more cozy. This is why Meridith Baer’s philanthropy efforts are so valued.
“I wrote them a donation check and I was surprised to see how far the donation went with this group,” Baer said. “I was so happy to partner with them for the Marina del Rey classroom makeover.”
Ross added, “They transformed the space with art and a huge table where the girls can work collaboratively. This is especially important since we are just coming out of the pandemic and girls were hit hard both socially and emotionally. It gives the girls a sense of belonging and place to come and hang out. We are grateful to Meridith and her team for creating such a compelling space.”
The Marina del Rey Middle School girls were so overjoyed with the results that they wrote letters of gratitude to Baer and her team for all of their efforts. The letters really touched Baer and her team members.
“They were so grateful, it puts a smile on my face,” Baer said.
Ngo agrees that the partnership is very worthwhile and inspirational.
“The girls are so lucky to have an inspiration and role model like Meridith to show them empowerment, that truly anything is possible for them,” Ngo said.
“It makes life worth living,” Baer said.
Meridith Baer Home
Girls. Inc of LA