Orthodox Union Welcomes Bipartisan Agreement to Double Funding for Federal Security Grants to Protect Synagogues, Churches, Other Houses of Worship, Nonpublic Day Schools, Other Nonprofits

Posted on December 21, 2020 In Press Releases

Appropriations Bill Provides $180 Million for Federal Grant Program

Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (Orthodox Union)–the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization–welcomed the decision by Congressional appropriators to double funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) to $180 million for fiscal year 2021.

The $180 million is contained in the appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security which is, in turn, contained in the omnibus appropriations bill Congressional leaders are expected to pass later today. [See our memo here on new sources of support for day schools and synagogues in the year-end COVID-19 relief package ]

The Orthodox Union’s Advocacy Center helped spearhead the creation of the NSGP in 2005 so that synagogues, Jewish day schools and other houses of worship and nonprofits at risk of terror attacks could make their facilities more secure. Through fiscal year 2020, the NSGP has delivered a total of $419 million in NSGP funding, much of it to Jewish communal institutions.

In the wake of the recent surge of anti-Semitic attacks in recent years, OU Advocacy Executive Director Nathan Diament has called for dramatically increasing NSGP funding for FY 2021 during press conferences alongside Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin (D-Md.). Additionally, Diament testified about anti-Semitic violence and the need for greater NSGP funding before Congress in January. (Read and view Nathan Diament’s testimony here.)

Of the $180 million for FY 2021, half has been earmarked for organizations in major urban areas across the country (compared to $50 million in FY 2020), while the other half would go to institutions outside of those geographic areas (compared to $40 million in FY 2020).

Nathan Diament, Executive Director of the OU Advocacy Center, stated:
“We are deeply grateful to U.S. Reps. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, as well as U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, and Senate Minority Leader Schumer, Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) of the Homeland Security Committee and Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Jacky Rosen (R-Nev.) who co-chair the Senate Task Force to Combat Anti-Semitism, for their strong support for this unprecedented and important funding increase.”

OU President Mark (“Moishe”) Bane stated:
“We look forward to a time when government funding for security at synagogues and other houses of worship won’t be needed, when people will be able to pray and go about their activities without fear of attacks. Until then, we have a responsibility to keep our community and others safe, and this very substantial expansion of funding will do exactly that. We call on the Senate and House to pass this legislation without delay.”

[See latest news coverage here]