Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America Welcomes DHS Budget that Includes Quadrupling to $360 Million Proposed Security Grant Funding to Protect Jewish Day Schools, Synagogues, Other Houses of Worship and Nonprofits

Posted on July 15, 2020 In Press Releases

2021 Spending Plan Proposes Record 300 Percent Increase for Federal Nonprofit Security Grant Program Funding

Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (Orthodox Union)—the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization—applauded the U.S. House Appropriations Committee for approving a proposal that quadruples funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) to $360 million for fiscal year 2021.

The $360 million is contained in the proposed budget for the Department of Homeland Security, which administers the grant program; it provides awards of up to $100,000 apiece for purchasing and installing building security equipment and paying for contract security guards and training.

The OU 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, most of it to Jewish communal institutions. The bill will next be considered by the Senate; if approved by both chambers of Congress, the new allocation would bring total NSGP funding to $779 million.

OU Advocacy Executive Director Nathan Diament called for increasing NSGP funding to $360 million during press conferences alongside Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) in December, and again in January alongside Maryland Democratic Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin. (See video and our statements from those events here and here.) Additionally, Diament testified about anti-Semitic violence and the need for greater NSGP funding before Congress in January. Read and view his testimony here.

Of the $360 million for fiscal year 2021, half has been earmarked for organizations in major urban areas across the country (compared to $50 million for FY2020), while the other half would go to institutions outside of those geographic areas (compared to $40 million for FY 2020).

Nathan Diament, Executive Director of the OU Advocacy Center, stated:
“We are deeply grateful to U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security for their strong support for this unprecedented funding increase. We also express our sincere thanks to Sens. Charles Schumer, Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and other lawmakers for their early and ongoing support to dramatically increase NSGP funding so that many more synagogues, day schools and other nonprofits can access the security they need in the face of ongoing anti-Semitic violence.”

OU President Mark (Moishe) Bane stated:
“We look forward to a time when such funding 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.”