Category Archive: Nonprofit Security Grants

Recent Propaganda Releases by ISIS and Al-Qa’ida Promote Intensified Attacks by Supporters in the West

This assessment from NYPD has information that can be used to support both the federal and New York State grant applications. We highlighted issues concerning the Jewish community.


Open Source Assessment/February 10, 2020

Two recent extremist propaganda releases disseminated by ISIS’s al-Furqan Media and al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) Al-Malahem Media called on Salafi-jihadist supporters to intensify attacks as part of a retaliatory campaign of violence against the West, which may resonate with homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) based in the U.S. Both media campaigns referenced a broad variety of tactics, with ISIS’s statement promoting the use of conventional and chemical weapons, and AQAP’s message promoting simple, low-tech methods, as well as cyberwarfare campaigns.

  • While both propaganda statements called for an escalation in attack efforts, ISIS’s propaganda release notably emphasized a “new phase” geared specifically towards targeting Israeli and Jewish interests. ISIS previously referenced chemical weapons tactics in numerous propaganda graphics, demonstrating the group’s persistent support and interest in this attack method.  While the NYPD is not aware of any credible, active, or specific threats at this time, this statement, coupled with an already heightened threat environment, may serve as a catalyst for increased violence against Jewish communities.
  • Additionally, AQAP’s latest propaganda release may potentially have a stronger resonance with al-Qa’ida-aligned HVEs in the West following the recently confirmed death of Qasim al-Rimi, the leader of AQAP, who was killed in a targeted U.S. counterterrorism operation in Yemen.
  • On January 27, 2020, ISIS’s official media apparatus published a 37-minute Arabic-language audio statement attributed to its new spokesperson, Abu Hamza al-Qurayshi, marking his second speech since the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and spokesperson Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir in separate U.S. counterterrorism operations. While much of the statement—titled “God Destroyed Them and a Similar Fate Awaits the Disbelievers”—revisited ISIS’s narrative of survivability and endurance despite strategic setbacks, al-Qurayshi notably declared war on Israel, and called for ISIS supporters to broadly intensify their attack efforts worldwide.
  •  Throughout the speech, al-Qurayshi claimed that U.S. narratives about ISIS’s defeat in the Middle East are false and that the U.S. has historically been unable to defeat its adversaries, specifically referring to the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq in 2011. He asserted that ISIS will persist despite al-Baghdadi’s death. The statement appears to have been recorded in recent weeks, as it also referenced the death of Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force (IRGC-QF) Major General Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in early January 2020.
  • After congratulating ISIS militants for waging a retaliatory campaign of violence in response to the deaths of al-Baghdadi and al-Muhajir, al-Qurayshi encouraged supporters to continue the revenge efforts by increasing the frequency of attacks. This specific statement could potentially resonate with lone offenders as a call to arms from core ISIS leadership.
  • Al-Qurayshi announced the beginning of a new stage for ISIS aimed at reclaiming Jerusalem. He specifically urged ISIS affiliates in the Sinai Peninsula and Syria to turn Israeli “settlements and markets into a proving ground for your rockets and chemical weapons.” He also ordered Muslims to thwart the U.S. peace plan referred to as the “Deal of the Century,” and implored Palestinians and Muslims worldwide to target Jews. While previous ISIS messaging also emphasized the targeting of Jewish and Israeli interests in an effort to inspire attacks by established ISIS affiliates and lone offender supporters, the emphasis on these targets in this audio message likely coincides with the latest proposed U.S. peace plan for the Middle East.
  • On February 6, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that Qasim al-Rimi, the emir of AQAP and potential heir to al-Qa’ida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, was killed in a U.S. military counterterrorism operation. Al-Rimi was previously featured in a propaganda video disseminated by AQAP on February 2 that claimed responsibility for the December 2019 shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, praised global al-Qa’ida-affiliated operations, and emphasized the importance of continued retaliatory attacks against U.S. interests. Given al-Rimi’s death, his latest message urging lone offender attacks against the U.S. may also catalyze HVEs to conduct retaliatory attacks.
  • AQAP’s propaganda video featured Qasim al-Rimi, often pairing his image with other al-Qa’ida ideologues. He declared that AQAP was responsible for the December 2019 shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola which was conducted by Saudi aviation student Mohammed Saeed al-Shamrani, who he claimed was a sleeper agent for AQAP. Similar to the retaliatory narrative in past AQAP propaganda messages, he stated that the shooting was in revenge for crimes committed by the U.S. across Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Additionally, on February 4, the al-Qa’ida-affiliated al-Shabaab echoed this narrative by congratulating AQAP for its role in the Pensacola attack and encouraged continued lone offender operations in the West.
  • Al-Rimi connected the Pensacola shooting to other al-Qa’ida-affiliated operations, stating that it was part of a series of global attacks. He compared al-Shamrani to the group’s other perceived “heroes,” such as Nidal Malik Hassan, the November 2019 Fort Hood shooter, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the brothers who orchestrated the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, in a likely attempt to encourage similar operations by HVEs in the West.
  • Most significantly, al-Rimi explicitly called for lone offender attacks in the U.S and told supporters to make sure their “chief concern” is “America.” He urged students, journalists, doctors, engineers, merchants, workers, Arab and non-Arabs to use low-tech, simple tactics, including vehicle ramming, firearms, and explosives. He also encourages viewers to consult AQAP’s Inspire magazine for tactical guidance.

IMPLICATIONS FOR NEW YORK CITY

There is currently no direct, credible or specific threat to New York City following these recent propaganda releases by ISIS and AQAP media entities; however, ISIS’s calls for attacks against Jewish communities highlights the importance of vigilance for suspicious activity indicators at similar locations, houses of worship, and Jewish faith community gatherings throughout the five boroughs. In recent months, authorities have disrupted numerous plots by malicious actors from across the violent extremist ideological spectrum who espoused anti-Semitic views and targeted the Jewish community.

Security personnel are advised to be on alert for suspicious behavior that could indicate pre-operational surveillance for an attack. Such behavior could include individuals taking photographs of security procedures in place, and asking probing questions of security/law enforcement officers stationed outside such locations.

Information sharing and prompt reporting of suspicious behavior indicators between the public, private-sector security personnel, faith community leaders, and law enforcement authorities remains vital to the deterrence, detection, and disruption of terrorist activity and the prevention of attacks.

If You See Something, Say Something – 1-888-NYC-SAFE (1-888-692-7233)

Security funding updates

While our concerns about anti-Semitic attacks remain high, this week brought three new funding-related announcements that will help us to protect our institutions. We will notify our Security and Alert List when applications become available. To join our list, click here.

All those who wish to apply for upcoming grants should pre-qualify for the state or federal grant applications through the Grants Gateway Document Vault. Those having previously pre-qualified should check if their file is up-to-date. Get more help from JCRC-NY here. Also check out our dedicated webpage for more tips on how to successfully apply for grants.

  • Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes.The JCRC-NY is deeply grateful to Governor  for the latest awards of $10M in New York State security grants to schools (pre-school – 12) and museums. Grantees benefiting from this program applied in December 2018.  The announced awards will help 207 institutions to protect their people and facilities against hateful attacks. As of December 23, 2019 there is no new application for the next round of grants and will notify subscribers to the Security and Alert List as soon as we learn of  the availability of another round of grants.
  • Nonprofit Security Grant Program. Featuring a major victory for at-risk nonprofits, Congress completed the FY 2020 Appropriations Bills and the President is expected to sign them into law. This year, the team led by Rob Goldberg of JFNA’s DC office (including JCRC-NY and UJA-Federation as active members), successfully secured $90 million for the program, a 50% increase over the FY 2019 level:
    1.   $50 million will support NSGP-UA (Urban Area’s including NYC, Long Island and Westchester) projects; and
    2. $40 million will support NSGP-S projects (applicants outside the Urban Areas).

With the enactment of this legislation, the federal government will begin developing the FY 2020 program guidance and application (known as the Nonprofit Security Grant Program Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)). Any at-risk 501(c)(3) organization (including houses of worship) can apply.

Our best guess is that applications will be available at the NY DHSES website in February or March. All NY organizations must apply through the process as outlined  by NYDHSES. We will notify subscribers to the Security and Alert List as soon as we learn of  the availability of another round of grants.

NSGP: Updated JCRC-NY Tutorial

Posted on May 01, 2019

From NY DHSES

Click here for the JCRC-NY updated Investment Justification tutorial.

From the NY DHSES FAQ’s

Question: What makes a strong Investment Justification?
Answer:

  • Clearly identified risks, vulnerabilities and consequences;
    Description of findings from a previously conducted vulnerability assessment;
  • Details of any incident(s) including description, dates, etc.;
  • A brief description of any supporting documentation (such as police reports or photographs) that is submitted as part of the application, if applicable;
  • Explanation of how the investments proposed will mitigate or address the vulnerabilities identified from a vulnerability assessment;
  • Establish a clear linkage with investment(s) and core capabilities (See National Preparedness Goal); see http://www.fema.gov/national-preparedness-goal for information on core capabilities;
  • All activities proposed in the application are allowable costs per the FY 2019 NSGP RFA;Realistic milestones that consider the Environmental Planning and Historic Preservation (EHP) review process, if applicable; and
  • Description of the project manager or managers’ level of experience.

NSGP: More on contracted security guards

Posted on April 25, 2019

Updated April 25, 2019| U.S. DHS posted its Fiscal Year 2019 Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). We are reviewing the materials and have identified two key changes:

  • Grant amount. The maximum award this year will be $100,000.
  • Stacking the deck for new applicants. This year 10 bonus points will be added to the scores of organizations that never received NSGP funding. This effectively gives a serious advantage to newbies.
  • Security guards. Hiring of contracted security personnel is now allowed under this program (see the FEMA update here).
    • Note: Recipients of NSGP funding may use the grant to pay for contracted security personnel over the entire three year period of the grant. However, grantees should not assume that they will be successful applicants (you might not win a grant or this program may not exist in coming years) so you must be able to sustain this capability in future years without NSGP funding.
    • NSGP funds may not be used to purchase equipment for security guards. These costs should be classified as organization costs.
    • Subrecipients (grantees) may not use NSGP funding to hire full or part-time employees that will be placed on a nonprofit’s payroll.
    • Rob Goldberg of JFNA reports after speaking with FEMA, that the blanket waiver WILL be in place and interested subrecipients may now request up to 100% of their total award towards the cost of contacted security personnel.
    • JCRC comment: Make a case for security guards through an identified vulnerability included in your assessment (e.g., failure to review or monitor CCTV recordings for possible instances of hostile surveillance, inadequate access control measures, and or the lack of security guards during all hours of operation) and add “Contracted security guards” as an “Item to be purchased”  in IV.  Target Hardening (Note: there is no AEL number for Contracted security guards).

A case can readily be made for additional contracted security guards, additional hours or an upgrading replacement (e.g., unarmed to armed) of the existing guards.

Finally, we think that it is appropriate to remind you that security guards are no panacea. Security planning should entail a well-considered mix of personnel, plans, procedures, training, drills and exercises and security hardware. The judges tend to look at your assessments to see if you are addressing the most important vulnerabilities.

  • Investment Justification. At first glance we don’t see any changes in the 2019 Investment Justification. Download it here.
  • Timing. We estimate that the submission deadline for NY organizations be  mid-May. We will be producing and posting our tutorial material this week, but will schedule a webinar — with an opportunity for questions –after Pesach.

The New York Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (NY DHSES) posted its New York-specific Request for Applications here. Check their site and ours for updates.

The guidelines and the paperwork seems to closely track the FY 2018 guidelines  (with the exception of security guards), so if you have been drafting your applications based our existing help you will be in very good shape.

Nonprofit Security Grants: Updated

Posted on April 10, 2019

Updated April 16, 2019| The New York Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (NY DHSES) will have the New York-specific Request for Applications posted at http://www.dhses.ny.gov/grants/nonprofit/nsgp.cfm by the end of the day. Check back at www.jcrcny.org/securitygrants often to see our updates. Remember: all NY applicants are subject to the requirements, deadlines, etc. as set forth by NY DHSES. Note that there will be no information on the NY DHSES website (or in E-Grants) until they have the Request for Applications prepared. 

Key changes:

  • Grant amount. The maximum award this year will be $100,000.
  • Stacking the deck for new applicants. This year 10 bonus points will be added to the scores of organizations that never received NSGP funding. This effectively gives a serious advantage to newbies.
  • Security guards. The NSGP guidance now allows that the costs to hire a private security firm or off-duty law enforcement officers to provide security services to the facility or organization is permissible, as is the training of said security personnel (but not equipment of contracted security personnel). The recipient must be able to sustain this capability in future years without NSGP funding. Rob Goldberg (from the JFNA Washington Office and the key lobbyist for the NSGP) spoke with his FEMA contacts and reports that, “It means because the program is competitive, there is no guarantee of future years funding so the recipient may have to fund the project if they are unsuccessful in subsequent years. The language is an admonition, but it does not mean that an applicant must show, describe or otherwise prove that it has funding in future years to sustain security personnel.”
  • Investment Justification. At first glance we don’t see any changes in the basic questions on the 2019 Investment Justification. If you followed our advice and practices on the 2018 version, make sure that you submit the 2019 one. Download it here.
  • Timing. The deadline for NY DHSES submissions will be May 8th. We will be producing and posting our tutorial material this week, but will schedule a webinar — with an opportunity for questions –after Pesach.

The New York Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (NY DHSES) will soon post its New York-specific Request for Applications (it will be posted here). Check back often to see our updates. Remember: all NY applicants are subject to the requirements, deadlines, etc. as set forth by NY DHSES. Note that there will be no information on the NY DHSES website (or in E-Grants) until they have the Request for Applications prepared. 

No news yet on NY Hate Crimes grants

Please be advised that the NY DHSES is still processing the submissions from the December Securing Communities against Hate Crimes (SCAHC). We advise you to prepare two lists of priorities for your Investment Justification: 1) assuming that you receive the SCAHC grant; and 2) if you do not. NY DHSES is making every effort to let the December applicants know ASAP.

Getting ready for the grant
All organizations planning to submit for a grant this year should get started now, because the actual application may not be available until the last minute. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Get an assessment. If you don’t already have one, or have scheduled one, do so immediately. Since November, JCRC-NY, through a generous grant from UJA-Federation and the Paul E. Singer Foundation, has arranged for scores of professional security assessments for Jewish organizations. These assessments cover most of what is required on the federal Investment Justification (the major component of the application). By implementing the recommendations from the report, you should go a long way towards making your facility safer. Applications accompanied by self-assessments will be accepted. For more guidance click to: https://www.jcrcny.org/security-assessment/.
  2. Prequalify. Your Nonprofit Security Grant Program will not be accepted unless your organization is “Prequalified.” See more information at: https://www.jcrcny.org/document-vault-faqs/. If you submitted for a grant last year you are prequalified, but you may have to update some documents.
  3. E-Grants. NY grants must be submitted through the E-Grants system. Previous applicants already have an account. Otherwise, click here to apply for an account. N.B. JCRC-NY cannot answer questions about your E-Grants submissions. Contact DHSES at 1-866-837-9133 or Grant.Info@dhses.ny.gov.
  4. Investment Justification. This is the key component of the application. We don’t expect significant changes this year. Download the 2018 template here and answer all of the questions to the best of your ability now, so that you will be able to adapt your answers (if necessary) and cut and paste them into the 2019 Investment Justification, even if the application window is very brief.
  5. Help with the vulnerability and facility hardening sections. See our document, Tying together the risk and target hardening language. Select and build on our language to complete the most challenging sections of the Investment Justification.
  6. More help. Click here for the multi-year FAQ‘s on the NSGP distributed by FEMA. There are some interesting details in the FAQ’s.

    Get a head start on the application by reviewing the FY 2018 NSGP Investment Justification (IJ) questions and preparing your answers. Download a copy at: Investment Justification2018, JCRC-NY’s 2018 Tutorial (PDF of PowerPoint), JCRC-NY’s Tying together the risk and target hardening language and JFNA’s Threat Chronology.

    See our 2018 Tutorial (PDF of PowerPoint), Tying together the risk and target hardening language and JFNA’s Threat Chronology.