FACT SHEET: Federal and State Security Funding for Synagogues, Jewish Day Schools, Other Houses of Worship and Nonprofit Organizations

Posted on November 4, 2019 In Blog, Resources

Strengthening security at Jewish communal institutions has long been a priority for the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center.

[New as of November 2019 for Pennsylvania: $5 million security grant program for faith-based institutions and other nonprofits targeted for hate crimes; details below]

Federal Nonprofit Security Grant Program
In 2005, the OU Advocacy Center and its coalition partners spearheaded the creation of the federal Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP), which provides security grants to Jewish day schools, synagogues and other houses of worship and nonprofits at risk of terror attacks.

To date, the program – administered by the Department of Homeland Security – has allocated $329 million to more than 4,000 institutions across the country.

For 2019, $60 million in NSGP funding was available; of that, $50 million was apportioned to institutions in major urban areas, and another $10 million was allocated to institutions in other geographic regions.

Recipients in major urban areas may receive up to $100,000 apiece to improve building security by acquiring and installing equipment such as blast-resistant doors and windows, video surveillance and metal detectors. The grants may also be used to train staff and volunteers and pay for contracted security personnel. Those in other geographic areas may receive up to $100,000 apiece. The OU Advocacy Center is working to increase the 2020 allocation to $90 million.

State-Level Security Grant Programs

During 20019, the Orthodox Union also worked to create and expand security grants for Jewish day schools, synagogues and other houses of worship and nonprofits at the state level. Grants are available in states including:

  • California: $15 million available through the state-level nonprofit security grant program, which provides grants up to $200,000 per institution. In addition to security equipment, the funding may also be used to pay for security personnel.
  • New York: $60 million in security grants: $25 million for Jewish and other nonpublic schools, day care centers and cultural museums; $20 million in matching grants for Jewish and other nonpublic schools and day camps; $15 million for Jewish and other nonpublic schools.
  • Pennsylvania:$8.2 million in security grants available: $5 million from the state’s new (as of November 2019) grant program for synagogues, Jewish day schools and other faith-based institutions and nonprofits specifically targeted for hate crimes, with individual grants of up to $150,000. The program will be shuttered in 2024; $3.2 million for Jewish and other nonpublic day schools (School Safety Security Grant Program) to improve building security.
  • Maryland: $3.5 million in security grants: for 2020, Maryland’s new Protecting Religious Institutions Grant program offers $3 million in grants of up to $200,000 apiece for synagogues, Jewish day schools and other nonpublic schools and houses of worship for building security and personnel. Another $2 million in grants are available for security improvements s at nonpublic and public schools and childcare centers at risk of hate crimes.
  • Florida: $2.5 million in security grants for Jewish day schools.
  • Ohio: $6 million in security grants: the Ohio Emergency Management Agency and Ohio Homeland Security administer the Security Grants for Nonprofits program that provides up to $100,000 each to to synagogues, other houses of worships, nonpublic day schools and nonprofits at risk of terror attacks. Nov. 29 is the deadline to apply for the next round of grants.
The OU Advocacy Center is the nonpartisan public policy arm of the
Orthodox Union – the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization