A bill signed by Gov. Phil Murphy on Jan. 15 will give nonprofits, including Jewish facilities, a boost in establishing security measures by supplementing appropriations to the New Jersey Nonprofit Security Grant Pilot Program by $1 million.
The legislation increases to $2 million the amount the program can give in grants for both security personnel and security equipment in fiscal year 2020. Potential grantees apply for the funds through the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.
Murphy also affixed his signature to a bill classifying certain hate crimes as domestic terrorism in New Jersey. In a statement issued on the occasion, the governor decried the rise of anti-Semitism in the Garden State.
“Our state and our nation are facing a rising tide of anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred,” said Murphy. “We recently bore witness to how this can manifest itself in violence, with the attack on our Jewish community in Jersey City.
“We must stand together against terrorism and recommit to the elimination of hate in all its forms in order to protect New Jerseyans and our country,” said the governor. “This legislation is crucial to making it clear that hatred will not be tolerated in our state.”
Joshua Cohen, director of government relations and external affairs for Jewish Federations of New Jersey (JFNJ), was among those who lobbied for the boost in appropriations.
“We have witnessed a disturbing increase in the number of incidents of hate and bigotry in New Jersey,” Cohen said in a statement. “No individual, group, or organization should be left vulnerable to any threats or acts of violence because of their race, religion, country of origin, or sexual or gender identity.”
Cohen went on to express gratitude “to our legislative leaders in the Assembly and Senate for championing initiatives which provide the necessary funding and protections our communities need most. We thank Gov. Murphy for signing these bills into law, demonstrating that fighting hate is a shared value of all New Jerseyans.”
Cohen also praised his predecessor, Jacob Toporek, longtime executive director of the New Jersey State Association of Jewish Federations, which was replaced by the JFNJ last July. Toporek, he said, “was a main force in helping the NJ Nonprofit Security Grant Pilot Program get started and assuring the original $1 million in funding was secured.”
Facilities can apply for grants of up to $10,000 for security personnel, and up to $50,000 for the purchase of target hardening, or security, equipment. Applicants may apply for both but will receive only one; they will be asked for their preference upon application. The process is explained at njhomelandsecurity.gov/nsgpp.
Cohen is looking into how the supplemental funds will be distributed; under the original appropriation, applications for grants far exceeded those awarded.
“The question is whether or not Homeland Security will open up a whole new application process [with the supplemental $1 million] or go back to facilities that applied and didn’t receive grants under the original funding,” said Cohen.