Appropriations Bill Provides $180 Million for Federal Grant Program
On Monday, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (Orthodox Union), the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, welcomed the decision by congressional leaders to double funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) to $180 million for 2021.
This comes after OU Advocacy Executive Director Nathan Diament called for dramatically increasing NSGP funding in January press conferences, alongside Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), in response to the surge in anti-Semitic attacks in recent years. Diament also testified about anti-Semitic violence and the need for increased NSGP funding before Congress that same month.
The Orthodox Union’s Advocacy Center helped create the NSGP in 2005 so that synagogues, Jewish day schools and other houses of worship could make their facilities more secure. To this point, the NSGP has delivered a total of $419 million in funding, much of it going to Jewish institutions.
This move comes just over a month after a Jewish cemetery in Grand Rapids, Ahavas Israel Cemetery, was found vandalized.
The $180 million is contained in the appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security, which is contained in the comprehensive 2021 appropriations bill congressional leaders passed on Monday.
Of the $180 million, half has been earmarked for organizations in major urban areas across the country, while the other half is set to go to institutions outside of those urban areas, according to an Orthodox Union press release.
“We look forward to a time when government funding for security at synagogues and other houses of worship won’t be needed, when people will be able to pray and go about their activities without fear of attacks,” OU President Mark “Moishe” Bane stated in the press release. “Until then, we have a responsibility to keep our community and others safe, and this very substantial expansion of funding will do exactly that.”