A group of U.S. senators is pushing for a fourfold increase in security funding for Jewish and other nonprofit institutions.
Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) sent a letter this week to the leaders of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Homeland Security, calling for up to $360 million in funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) for the 2021 fiscal year, which would quadruple funding for the program in 2020.
The Senate has proposed $90 million in funding for the NSGP, the same amount that was allocated for the 2020 fiscal year, while the U.S. House of Representatives has proposed an increase to $360 million.
“At a time of heightened threat to nonprofit faith- and community-based organizations, a bolstered NSGP will continue to provide our nonprofit partners with critical resources and tools they need to protect lives and property,” stated the letter.
The NSGP, which is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), provides grants of up to $100,000 each to nonprofits at risk of terrorist attacks so they may improve building security by acquiring and installing items ranging from fences, lighting and video surveillance to metal detectors and blast-resistant doors, locks and windows. Funding may also be used to train staff and pay for contracted security personnel.
These funds have become critical for the Jewish community in the aftermath of the October 2018 mass shooting at the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh, where 11 Jewish worshippers were killed; six months later, the April 27, 2019 shooting at Chabad of Poway in Southern California, where one woman was killed and three others injured; and in the aftermath of a string of anti-Semitic attacks last year in New York and New Jersey.