Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America Welcomes $90 Million in Department of Homeland Security Awards to Houses of Worship, Day Schools, Summer Camps, Other Nonprofits Across US

Posted on July 1, 2020 In Press Releases

2020 Nonprofit Security Grant Program Awards Mark Largest Ever Allocation in Program’s History

Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America welcomed the awarding of $90 million in federal Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) security grants by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to nonprofit organizations across the United States.

DHS, which administers the awards, provides up to $100,000 for houses of worship, parochial day schools, community centers, Jewish federations and a variety of other nonprofit institutions deemed to be at risk of terror attacks to help them increase security for their facilities and the people who use them. Over the past 15 years, Congress has apportioned $419 million for the program.

The fiscal year 2020 funding, approved by Congress and signed by the President in December, represents a 50 percent increase over last year’s $60 million funding and came in the wake of the tragic attacks on Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue in 2018, the Chabad of Poway six months later and attacks on visibly Jewish people in New York and New Jersey.

The creation of the NSGP was spearheaded by the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center in 2005 (in partnership with the Jewish Federations of North America and other organizations). The Advocacy Center works closely with legislators each year to increase program funding. Recipients may use the grants to pay for acquiring and installing items ranging from fences, lighting and video surveillance to metal detectors and blast-resistant doors, locks and windows. Funding may also be used to train staff and pay for contracted security personnel.

Of the $90 million for 2020, $50 million are going to nonprofits in 32 major urban areas in 22 states, from New York City and Jersey City/Newark to Miami/Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles, Calif. Another $40 million has been awarded to more than 500 institutions in places that are outside the major urban areas. Recipients range from faith-based summer camps and day schools to synagogues, churches, mosques and a wide swath of social welfare organizations and other nonprofits.

Nathan Diament, Executive Director of the OU Advocacy Center, stated:
“We are deeply appreciative that DHS has awarded this year’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program awards. The new $90 million funding level is the highest for this program and we thank the leadership and support of our lawmakers who understood the critical need to increase funding so that more nonprofits can be protected.”

OU President Mark (Moishe) Bane stated:
“We have a responsibility to protect people whether at prayer, at school and in other potentially vulnerable places, and this funding truly helps us to do that. We can, and must, do everything we can to keep our community – and all faith communities – safe.”