Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, commends Congress for approving $25 million to fund a federal grants program that helps nonprofit entities ranging from synagogues and Jewish day schools to mosques and hospitals, improve the security of their buildings.
The allocation amounts to a $5 million increase for the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP), bringing funding back to its original amount. The Orthodox Union Advocacy Center and other Jewish organizations helped create the grant program in 2005 in the wake of 9/11.
The NSGP delivers grants of as much as $75,000 each to nonprofits at risk of terrorist attacks to make their facilities more secure by acquiring and installing items ranging from fences, lighting and video surveillance to metal detectors and blast-resistant doors, locks and windows. The DHS has awarded almost $200 million in NSGP grants since the program began.
Democratic and Republican legislators alike have been pushing to increase the amount of funding for the grant program amid a surge in attacks across the country against Jewish facilities ranging from cemeteries to synagogues.
In March, all 100 senators signed a letter urging the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the FBI to respond swiftly and strongly to the alarming rash of security threats aimed at the Jewish community since the start of 2017.
The following month, 112 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to leaders of the House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Homeland Security requesting that they more than double NSGP funding to $50 million.
Said Orthodox Union President Mark Bane:
“This is an important statement of support for our community and we thank the president and Congress for standing with us. The surge in anti-Semitic violence over the past several months has made all of us more aware of the need to protect our community from potential attacks.”
Said Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy for the Orthodox Union:
“We deeply appreciate our elected leaders for taking threats against the Jewish community very seriously and working diligently to strengthen the Nonprofit Security Grant Program. With this additional funding, even more people will be protected from hateful attacks against our community.”