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July 16, 2010

New Federal funds will help bolster the security of nonprofit institutions, many of them in the Jewish community, which the Department of Homeland Security considers potential targets of terrorism.

The Jewish Federations of North America hailed the release of $19 million to nonprofits through the Department of Homeland Security’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NPSG). The funding announced yesterday is the fifth installment of the program and is up $4 million since Fiscal 2009. Since 2005, $99 million has been distributed across the country. 

Under the 2010 grant program, nonprofit organizations in 64 designated high-threat urban areas nationwide were eligible to apply for grants to acquire and install physical security enhancements to deter and detect attacks. Such measures include blast-proof windows, reinforced doors, locks, gates and fences, video surveillance and more. The grants also promote security-related preparedness planning and training.

Out of 270 grant awards, 253 (or nearly 94 percent) were given to Jewish institutions. This is up from 144 Jewish institutions in Fiscal 2009. Federations in Washington D.C., Miami, Tampa, St. Louis, Northern N.J., Tulsa, Seattle and Philadelphia received grant money this year. Other grantees included 129 synagogues, 33 Jewish Community Centers, 50 Jewish schools and others including family services agencies, hospitals, museums and elder-care facilities.

"Since September 11, nonprofits generally, and Jewish communal institutions specifically, have been the victim of an alarming number of threats and attacks," said William C. Daroff, vice president for public policy and director of JFNA’s Washington Office. "The Nonprofit Security Grant Program is a proven resource that helps supplement the work of local and federal law enforcement to help keep us safe."

In another significant boost for the program, JFNA also successfully led efforts to secure $20 million for next year’s NSGP program within draft legislation moving through the Senate – a $1 million increase over the current year. 

The House allocation is unknown at this time, but JFNA is working to maximize the the program’s funding in the final version of the bill.

Congress established the Nonprofit Security Grant Program in 2005, at the behest of Jewish Federations and other leading nonprofit organizations, in recognition that certain nonprofits (including community centers, hospitals, schools, places of worship, and other health, humanitarian, cultural and civic places) are considered civilian targets by terrorists.

JFNA remains the driving force sustaining the program and serves as the leading technical resource to hundreds of Jewish grant applicants annually.

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