Grant Funding Would Help At-Risk Religious Institutions and Other Nonprofits Protect Themselves Against Terror Attacks
WASHINGTON, DC — Amidst an alarming rise in hate crimes and antisemitism nationwide, U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Gary Peters (D-MI) sent a letter to Senate leadership today to robustly fund the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) in the upcoming government funding bill. The NSGP provides critical funding to houses of worship and other community nonprofit institutions at risk of targeted terror attacks to install physical security enhancements, hire security personnel, and conduct emergency preparedness planning exercises. However, with surging antisemitism threatening Jewish communal institutions across the country, demand far exceeds the federal funding available.
This year, FEMA was only able to provide funding to about half of the 3,500 organizations nationwide that requested it. In order to align the program closer to the level of demand, Senator Rosen and her colleagues are calling on Congress to provide $180 million for the Urban Area Security Initiative NSGP and $180 million for the State Homeland Security Grant Program NSGP, for a total of $360 million – a $110 million increase over last year for the overall program.
“As the former president of a synagogue and co-founder of the Senate Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism, I know how critical this funding is for protecting houses of worship and combating the rise of antisemitism,” said Senator Rosen. “As we experience a wave of anti-Jewish bigotry and violence, we must protect Jewish communal institutions by properly funding the Nonprofit Security Grant Program.”
“I am deeply disturbed by the recent rise in antisemitic activity and hate crimes across New York and across the country. In light of the growing threat of terror attacks against synagogues, mosques, churches, and other nonprofits, these institutions urgently need more federal funding to protect themselves,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I urge Congress to robustly fund the NSGP to ensure that communities of faith nationwide can worship freely and without fear of violence.”
“The Nonprofit Security Grant Program is essential to helping houses of worship protect themselves in the face of increasing threats that are all too often inspired by hate,” said Senator Peters, Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “That is why I have long fought to increase funding for this vital program so religious institutions and other nonprofits can improve their security, provide a safe haven for their communities, and ensure that Americans do not have to fear for their safety where they live, work, or practice their faith.”
“From Pittsburgh to Charleston to Colleyville, we have seen how important Nonprofit Security Grants are for securing faith communities, which is why it is so important for Congress to finalize the funding increase to $360 million,” said Elana Broitman, SVP, Public Affairs for Jewish Federations of North America. “We are grateful to the bipartisan signatories supporting this issue. As they note, it is imperative to grow this program until there is enough funding to secure every synagogue, church, mosque, and nonprofit facility that is vulnerable to attack.”
The full letter can be found here.
Senator Rosen has been a leader in the fight to combat antisemitism and ensure that NSGP is fully funded. In response to a Rosen-led call for action earlier this month, President Biden established an interagency group to better coordinate efforts to combat antisemitism and other forms of discrimination in the United States. In the last full-year government funding package, Senator Rosen also helped secure robust funding for NSGP.