2020 Spending Plan Proposes $90 Million for Federal Nonprofit Security Grant Program, 50% More than Previous Year
Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, expresses its gratitude to U.S. Reps. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif. ) for proposing that the Department of Homeland Security’s $63.8 billion budget for 2020 includes $90 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP), a $30 million increase over the 2019 allocation.
Rep. Lowey is chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, which released the draft funding bill on June 4; Rep. Roybal-Allard is chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, which passed the bill by voice vote on June 5.
[UPDATE: The full House Appropriations Committee passed the allocation as part of the fiscal year 2020 Homeland Security bill by a 29-20 vote on June 11.]
The Orthodox Union Advocacy Center, in partnership with the Jewish Federations of North America and other Jewish organizations, helped create the NSGP in 2005. It provides grants of as much as $100,000 apiece to nonprofits in major metropolitan areas at risk of terrorist attacks so they may improve building security by acquiring and installing items ranging from fences, lighting and video surveillance to metal detectors and blast-resistant doors, locks and windows. Changes in recent years to the program also allow the allocations to be used for training and to pay for contracted security personnel.
The OU Advocacy Center works with legislators every year to increase the annual allocation, and for the past two years, the NSGP has been funded at $60 million. Until now, that was the largest amount of funding in the program’s 14-year history. Additionally, the NSGP has included for the past two years $10 million for houses of worship, schools and other nonprofits located outside major metropolitan areas. For 2020, $40 million of the proposed $90 million NSGP allocation would be apportioned to such areas.
The bill will next be considered by the full House Appropriations Committee.
Said Nathan Diament, executive director for the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center:
“We are immensely grateful to Reps Lowey, Roybal-Allard and the other legislators for recognizing the increasing dangers that synagogues, churches and other houses of worship face and proposing the necessary action to provide the funding these facilities so badly need to keep people safe.”
Said Orthodox Union President Mark (Moishe) Bane:
“Unfortunately, the scourge of anti-Semitism isn’t going away, as demonstrated by the heinous and painful attacks perpetrated at San Diego’s Poway Chabad and Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue. While we can’t legislate away such hatred and misplaced vitriol, we can take action to protect our communities at their most vulnerable: while worshipping in synagogues, churches, mosques and other sacred places. We urge the swift passage of the DHS budget at the full $90 million as proposed by the House Appropriations Committee.”