The Jewish Federations of North America applauds today’s Congressional approval of $10 million in new funding to nonprofits through the Department of Homeland Security’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP).
The allocation was included within the just-completed Fiscal Year 2013 Continuing Resolution. Though the win was hard fought amid difficult budget discussions, the approved funding will help ensure that a minimum of 127 grants for at-risk nonprofits will be available this year. These federal funds help bolster the security of nonprofit institutions deemed by the Department of Homeland Security to be vulnerable to terrorist attacks, including many Jewish organizations and institutions.
“We are grateful that nonprofits will once again benefit from this funding that is so critical to the ongoing safety of our communities,” said Michael Siegal, chair of the JFNA Board of Trustees. “These security grants are vital to the ongoing protection of at-risk institutions, enabling us to work, worship, gather and learn without fear.”
Threats to Jewish institutions continue to be a national security concern. Though the Nonprofit Security Grant Program has taken a number of funding hits in recent years, with funding at the $10 million level, the NSGP will be able to remain a program that is impactful, tangible and preventative.
“Since September 11, nonprofits generally, and Jewish communal institutions specifically, have been the targets of an alarming number of threats and attacks,” said William Daroff, JFNA’s vice president for Public Policy. “We are incredibly grateful for the bipartisan, bicameral support for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program as it is a proven, critical resource that helps supplement the work of local and federal law enforcement to help keep us safe.”
Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) has been the stalwart champion of the NSGP since co-sponsoring the establishment of the program with the late Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter. Sen. Mikulski’s efforts are supported by her Senate Appropriations counterpart, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), as well as House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY) and Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY), and Senate and House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee leaders including: Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN), Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) and Rep. David Price (D-NC), among others.
JFNA thanked Congressional leaders and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano for their support of this vital program, and expressed gratitude to partners including the Orthodox Union, Agudath Israel, the Jewish Community Relations Councils of New York, Washington, Baltimore and Indianapolis, and Federation communities including New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore, Seattle, Boston and Las Vegas.
JFNA works with partners to sustain the program and serves as the leading technical resource to hundreds of Jewish grant applicants annually. JFNA continues to work with Congress to ensure that the NSGP continues in Fiscal Year 2014, and to press the Administration to support continuing and strengthening the NSGP in 2014.
“We are acutely aware of the dangers that exist for Jewish institutions in our communities,” added Daroff. “That is why the Jewish Federations and our partners urge the Administration and Congress to continue supporting this program and why we work with schools, synagogues, Federations and Jewish Community Centers to successfully guide them through the Homeland Security grant process.”
Created by Congress in 2005, the Nonprofit Security Grant Program has successfully carried out its mission to support nonprofit organizations that are at increased risk of terrorist threats and integrate nonprofit preparedness activities with broader state and local preparedness efforts.
JFNA, along with key communal partners, facilitated the establishment of the program, and spearheaded its own security initiative, the Secure Community Network. Since the program began, Congress has appropriated $138 million toward NSGP, which is distributed within designated high-risk areas across the country to help nonprofits acquire and install physical security enhancements intended to deter and detect terrorists and extremists.