The purpose of the Nativity School Foundation is to preserve one of Biloxi’s vital educational institutions and city treasures – Nativity BVM Elementary School, which has continuously produced community leaders for generations. Nativity BVM accepts students of all faiths and provides superior educational opportunities in a Christian framework. Its success in student development is underscored by superior performance on statewide standardized tests.
Nativity BVM’s history of classroom achievement and its very existence are threatened by the increasing operational costs that plague all schools, but are particularly acute at the parochial level. In years past, Biloxi was blessed with several Catholic elementary schools that were staffed by different groups of nuns. The involvement of the nuns, who basically volunteered to run the schools, kept teaching costs to a minimum, thereby making tuition affordable for almost every family. Over the years, as the number of nuns dwindled, Catholic elementary schools have closed for financial reasons. Those closings included St. Michaels, St. Louis, St. John’s and Our Mother of Sorrows. In 2011, St. John Elementary closed its doors after 111 years of existence. Today, only Nativity BVM Elementary and Our Lady of Fatima Elementary remain to provide a quality Catholic elementary education to Biloxi’s children.
Nativity BVM is now at the brink of becoming unaffordable to the majority of its potential students. The costs of teacher salaries, building maintenance and inflation have made tuition soar beyond the reach of most household budgets. And those fixed costs are only going to continue to rise. The challenge, of course, is Nativity BVM must continue attracting quality educators while somehow finding a means of reducing the financial burden on its student families. Already, annual tuition at Nativity BVM is close to $4,000 per student. Those numbers are staggering to most families, especially those with more than one child of school age. The specific goal of this Foundation is to reduce tuition costs, which will allow existing families to continue sending their children to Nativity BVM, while also encouraging new enrollment.
Donations to the Nativity School Foundation can be made either to the endowment, a permanent fund that is professionally managed, or as a donor directed donation. The Foundation bylaws provide for both endowment donations and donor directed donations. The former type of donation is made part of the permanent endowment fund, whose principal will not be touched and its investment income will be used to subsidize tuition for all. The long term goal of the Foundation is to grow the endowment fund to the point where tuition can be subsidized to a level where tuition is affordable for all students. The donor directed donation is available to address the immediate needs of student families.
Our community’s future starts with educating its future leaders. Nativity BVM has proven itself as an institution that produces bright and well-rounded individuals. With the Foundation and your help, the future of Nativity BVM as a high quality educational institution for Biloxi’s children will be assured. Please be generous and help this worthy foundation.