The Nonprofit Security Grant Program supports “target hardening and other physical security enhancements and activities to nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of terrorist attack,” per the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which allocates the grants.
Many Jewish organizations and synagogues rely on the funds, as do houses of worship and nonprofits associated with other faiths. But there is a need to better educate nonprofits about the program and to make it easier for them to apply for grants, according to Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.).
Gottheimer, who is Jewish, successfully inserted two amendments in the recent appropriations bill, which the U.S. House of Representatives passed last week to fund the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. One of the amendments eases access to the security grants.
“In Congress and in New Jersey, I’m proud to have helped our houses of worship, synagogues, temples, churches, mosques and religious schools claw back more than $12 million in nonprofit security grants to enhance physical security measures,” the congressman told JNS.
The program currently lacks “super-clear mechanisms” to help grant applicants, according to Gottheimer.
“Some communities don’t even know the program exists,” per Gottheimer. “The bottom line is that this is an incredible federal grant opportunity.”
“The Department of Homeland Security should be making sure the process to apply for these lifesaving grants is transparent, accessible and free of red tape,” Gottheimer said. “I’m working to make sure every house worship across New Jersey knows they are eligible for these grants, but we need DHS to help aggressively communicate as well.”