On Friday, Dec. 20, President Donald Trump signed into law the Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations Bills, which includes $90 million in funding for the federal Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP). Synagogues, day schools, and other nonprofit organizations vulnerable to terrorism, such as hospitals, museums, and libraries, are eligible to apply for grants to enhance their security.
Orthodox Union president Mark (Moishe) Bane welcomed the bipartisan legislation. “The many attacks on our Jewish communal institutions highlight the tremendous need for additional measures to keep our community safe,” said Bane in a statement. “We have a responsibility to protect people whether at prayer, at school, and in other potentially vulnerable places.”
The 2020 funding level represents a 50 percent increase over 2019’s $60 million in funding. The Orthodox Union Advocacy Center and Jewish Federations of North America are among the organizations who successfully lobbied for its passage.
The NSGP provides grants of up to $100,000 to nonprofits at risk of terrorist attacks so they may improve building security by installing protections ranging from fences, lighting, and video surveillance to metal detectors and blast-resistant doors, locks, and windows. Federal funding may also be used to train staff and pay for security personnel. Since 2005, Congress has allocated $329 million for the grants, which are administered by the Department of Homeland Security.
“We are pleased with the opportunities the increased funding offers all facilities involved,” said Joshua Cohen, director of government relations and external affairs at Jewish Federations of New Jersey (JFNJ). JFNJ lobbied the state’s congressional delegation for support of the record-level security funds.
Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-Dist. 9) was identified by the Orthodox Union as one of the “leaders whose support was key to attaining the $90 million.”