The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, commends U.S Reps. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) and Dan Donovan (R-N.Y.) for spearheading a bipartisan letter signed by 112 members of the U.S. House of Representatives requesting that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) more than double funding for a federal grants program that helps nonprofit entities ranging from religious schools and houses of worship to hospitals and museums to upgrade security at their facilities.
The letter, sent to the leaders of the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Homeland Security, calls for increasing the federal Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) from its current funding level of $20 million to $50 million for fiscal year 2018. The request comes amid a surge in attacks across the country against Jewish facilities ranging from cemeteries to synagogues.
The Orthodox Union Advocacy Center helped create the NSGP in 2005. The program awards grants of as much as $75,000 each to nonprofits including synagogues and Jewish day schools 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. To date the DHS has awarded almost $200 million in NSGP grants since the program’s inception.
Said Mark Bane, president of the Orthodox Union:
“We commend the many legislators who are working to better protect our citizens and institutions, particularly as we witness this disturbing surge in attacks against our community. No one should have to fear for their safety when they go to school or attend religious services. The increased funding will help many more people feel secure as they go about their daily activities.”
Said Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy for the Orthodox Union:
“The Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which the OU is proud to have helped create, has been essential in addressing the security needs of our community’s schools, synagogues and Jewish community centers. With the wave of threats our community now confronts – and the attendant increased costs of keeping our citizens safe – this bipartisan effort to boost funding for the NSGP could not have come at a more important time.”