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July 8, 2020 9:01 am

US House Subcommittee Approves $360 Million for Nonprofit Security Grant Program

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The US Capitol Building. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – The US House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security marked up its draft of a fiscal year 2021 Homeland Security funding bill that includes $360 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program—a four-fold increase over last year’s $90 million in appropriations.

The legislation was approved by voice vote on Tuesday.

The NSGP provides grants of up to $100,000 each to non-profits 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. Funding may also be used to train staff and pay for contracted security personnel.

These funds have become critical for the Jewish community in the aftermath of the October 2018 mass shooting at the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh, where 11 Jewish worshippers were killed; six months later, the April 27, 2019 shooting at Chabad of Poway in Southern California, where one woman was killed and three others injured; and in the aftermath of a string of antisemitic attacks last year in New York and New Jersey.

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In a statement, the Jewish Federations of North America and the Secure Community Network praised the House bill.

“We are grateful to our elected officials on both sides of the aisle, especially Reps. Nita Lowey and Peter King, who have joined together to recommend increased funding to help our community deal with the rising threat of violence and antisemitism,” said JFNA board of trustees chair Mark Wilf. “Bolstered funding in the upcoming fiscal year will help to secure thousands of synagogues, Jewish community agencies and organizations, as well as other faith and communal groups that have too frequently been the victims of deadly attacks. Sadly, there is a compelling reason for Congress to move quickly and pass the legislation.”

“Whether at a Jewish day school, synagogue or kosher supermarket, the Jewish community—and other faith-based communities as well—are under threat,” said SCN National Director and CEO Michael Masters. “Funding from the federal government goes to make our communities safer by increasing physical security, by providing training and by planning against threats. We are grateful for our public officials and public-safety partners who are committed to working with us to address the very real threats we face.”

The Senate has not yet scheduled consideration of the pending 2021 spending bills, although Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has called for increasing spending for the NSGP to $360 million.

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