Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, applauds Congress for approving $60 million for fiscal year 2019 to fund the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP), which helps synagogues, other houses of worship, religious day schools and a variety of nonprofits improve the security of their buildings. President Trump has said he would sign the bill Friday.
The allocation for the NSGP was approved overwhelmingly Thursday, first by the U.S. Senate and later by the U.S. House of Representatives as part of the larger $330 billion spending bill that averts a government shutdown. The Orthodox Union Advocacy Center and other Jewish organizations helped create the NSGP in 2005 in the wake of 9/11.
Pending President Trump’s signature, this marks the second consecutive year the NSGP has been funded at $60 million, the highest amount in the program’s 14-year history. It’s also the second year in a row that the grant program includes $10 million for houses of worship, schools and other nonprofits located outside major metropolitan areas.
Including 2019, funding for the NSGP now totals $329 million. The Department of Homeland Security, which administers the program, awards grants of as much as $100,000 apiece to eligible nonprofits at risk of terrorist attacks. The nonprofits may use the funding for training and to acquire and install items ranging from fences, lighting and video surveillance to metal detectors and blast-resistant doors, locks and windows. As of 2019, NSGP allocations may also be used to pay for contracted security personnel.
Said Nathan Diament, executive director for the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center:
“We are very grateful for the strong, bipartisan support of so many legislators in the House and Senate who continue to recognize the need for this program and who worked to secure this critical funding, including Reps. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.); and Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.).”
Said Orthodox Union President Mark (Moishe) Bane:
“Sadly, as anti-Semitism continues to proliferate across the United States, this funding is essential for us to better protect our community – children and adults alike. Maintaining the Nonprofit Security Grant funding at its existing level will help us as we remain ever vigilant against attacks by those motivated by age-old hatred and vitriol against Jews. We look forward to better times when the NSGP isn’t needed at all.”