In the wake of the terror attacks in Paris that left 17 dead, French authorities launched a massive protective measure across the country. The measure includes the posting of 4,700 police officers to guard France’s 700 Jewish schools and other communal institutions.
The actions taken by France have been equated with the level of response the US undertook after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. One response the US undertook – at the behest of the OU, JFNA and other partners – was the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP), which was initially funded in fiscal year 2005 at $25 million. Since that time, maintaining adequate funding for NSGP has been challenging, due to severe spending restraints placed by Congress on the annual discretionary budget in recent years. NSGP is currently funded at $13 million, up from a low of $10 million in 2013.
The U.S. House of Representatives is beginning work to complete the 2015 Homeland Security bill, to be followed by the Senate. Congress will then commence consideration of the 2016 Appropriations bills, including Homeland Security. (Funding for NSGP is contained within the Homeland Security bill.) The program provides funding for physical security enhancements for at-risk nonprofit institutions located in high-threat areas. Through this initiative, grant recipients are able to increase their awareness, prevention, and resilience against terrorist and other violent attacks. The greater the program’s annual allocation, the greater the number of eligible institutions can secure grants.
Given the potential threats facing Jewish institutions, please contact your Representative and Senators today. Urge them to contact their respective Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittees and request they fund the Nonprofit Security Grant Program in both fiscal years 2015 and 2016 at the Program’s original allocation of $25 million, annually.