The Carson Glore Foundation would like to give a special thank you to Darrow School for helping us spread our cause in their Fall/Winter 2001-12 Peg Board, the boarding school’s bi-annual publication. Here was the story:
Nathan Nerland ’99: From Tragedy to Charity
A native of Fargo, North Dakota, Nathan Nerland came to Darrow under circumstances similar to those of many of our students: he wanted to attend a boarding school in the Northeast, discovered Darrow online, visited the campus, and fell in love with the Mountainside. The youngest of three children, he was the first to attend school away from home, and began his sophomore year in 1996.
Nathan arrived at Darrow in the wake of his best friend’s passing in 1993, which devastated him emotionally and left him trying to overcome depression.
“When I showed up at Darrow, I didn’t think it would make all my problems go away,” he said. “I was scared and I still had a lot to overcome. But Darrow was able to support me in ways that a public school couldn’t have. I really grew up there, and was able to deal with my depression differently.”
In 1999, Nerland graduated from Darrow and attended Pace University in Manhattan. Financial obstacles prompted a move to Minneapolis and some time to reprioritize his goals. “I realized that I didn’t want to go back to Manhattan,” he said. “I have such a full life here that I love.”
While working at Caribou Coffee, a national and international chain of coffee houses, Nerland became intrigued by the company’s marketing efforts and grew interested in working in advertising from the agency perspective. He enrolled at Brainco Minneapolis School of Advertising and studied branding, advertising, marketing and design. “I was always jealous of what the creative people who got to work on our account were doing, and I wanted to work on that side,” he said.
In 2004, at the age of 23, he and his business partner began a two-person agency called NADA advertising, and set out completing small projects such as business cards, retail signage, websites and print ads. They began (and continue today) as a virtual agency, avoiding the trappings of a large, expensive, and showy office and working instead from home and online whenever possible.
“The clients who want the big ad agency with the flashy offices, and who want to be wined and dined, aren’t going to be a good fit for us,” Nerland said. “Our clients care more about the creative than the show biz.”
Now with 10 employees and locations in Minneapolis and Laguna Beach, California, NADA advertising offers clients a range of services including website programming and design, brochure design, online social media marketing, printing, direct mail services, and advertising. NADA advertising recently aided Darrow School in its growing.greener initiative by donating its services to create a dedicated website just for the campaign at growinggreener.darrowschool.org.
Giving back what he has received has always been a priority for Nerland, and in 2011 he built a school for impoverished villagers living near Nairobi, Kenya. Working with the organization, Build Africa, Nerland’s foundation has been helping the school build new classrooms, acquired needed textbooks, train teachers, and help the students and villages acquire the skills and information they’ll need to continue improving their level of education.
“We wanted to do more than go in and give them a new, pretty school,” said Nerland, who noted that some of the construction work was done by the parents of students, enabling them to have an alternate source of income. “We also wanted to given them an improved education which means the whole community needs to be educated.”
Named after Nerland’s sixth-grade friend who passed, The Carson Glore School opened in December 2011 and has 380 primary grade students. As the foundation brochure says, “The Carson Glore Foundation was created to carry on the legacy of Carson, a friend who had a dream of becoming a teacher… but in 1993, he was lost too soon. Losing him so young affected hundreds of people, so the hope is his foundation is to positively affect many more. We are all living proof of the importance of good education.”