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Pascrell, King Laud Increased Funding for Nonprofit Security Grant Program

Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) and Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY) announced increased funding for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Nonprofit Security Grant Program has been included in the Congressional spending deal.

“At a time when our communities are seeing an increased threat of a terrorist attack, this funding will go directly toward making nonprofit organizations safer,” said Rep. Pascrell, an original member of the House Committee on Homeland Security. “No one should feel unsafe in a place of worship or a community center, which is why Rep. King and I fought hard for an increase in the Nonprofit Security Grant Program. This increase in funding will enable more nonprofit organizations across the country to acquire and install equipment that will secure themselves against a potential attack.”

“Unfortunately too many recent incidents have reinforced the need for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program” said Rep. King. “Organizations who are at risk of a potential terrorist attack need to have the necessary equipment and security measures in place. I am proud to have worked with Rep. Pascrell in making sure this critical program receives an increase in funding.”

The DHS Nonprofit Security Grant Program funding is part of the Congressional omnibus bill being considered today. The program funding is increased to $20 million in the FY2015 bill, the highest is has been since FY2007. The program saw an increase from $10 million for FY2013 to $13 million for FY2014.

Rob Goldberg, Senior Director of Legislative Affairs at The Jewish Federations of North America, states: “We are grateful that Congress, in large part due to Congressmen Pascrell and King, has appropriated additional resources to the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) at a time of heightened concerns for Jewish security. In recent years, New York City and Northern New Jersey have experienced some of the highest incidents of anti-Semitism and threats to the Jewish community from violent, homegrown extremists. Thanks to the leadership of Representatives Pascrell and King, this high-risk region, and communities throughout the United States, will be in a better position to protect their nonprofit institutions. We commend these members for not only being vocal proponents of the NSGP this year, but also for partnering with the Jewish community to ensure security needs have been met in past funding cycles.”

In March, Pascrell and King teamed up by leading a letter signed by 39 of their bipartisan House colleagues urging the co-chairs of the House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Homeland Security to fund the federal Nonprofit Security Grant Program at $25 million in the FY2015 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill. Reported attacks at houses of worship in the district over the past few years underscore the need for additional and continued security funding.

The full text of the letter follows:

March 20, 2015

The Honorable John Carter
Subcommittee on Homeland Security
House Appropriations Committee
Washington, DC  20515

The Honorable Lucille Roybal-Allard
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Homeland Security
House Appropriations Committee
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Carter and Ranking Member Roybal-Allard:

Thank you for your service in ensuring that adequate resources are available to protect our communities from threats and disasters. As you consider programs that deserve additional funding, we respectfully ask you to fund the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) Non-Profit Security Grant Program (NSGP) at $25 million in the FY2016 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill. This program is vital to the security of vulnerable non-profit facilities.

As you know, the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, provides critical support for physical security enhancements to nonprofit organization at high risk of a terrorist attack.

Several recent events illustrate the vulnerability of non-profits such as houses of worship to terrorism and hate crimes. In April of last year, a pair of shootings committed by a lone gunman occurred at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City and Village Shalom, a Jewish retirement community, killing three people. Less than three years ago, a gunman killed six people and wounded four others in a tragic mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. In 2011, a string of anti-Semitic hate crimes targeting synagogues in Northern New Jersey culminated in arson when an incendiary device was thrown through the window of an Orthodox temple, that was the home of a Rabbi, his wife, five children and father. Six years ago, two synagogues in New York City were targeted by domestic terrorists, and a security guard was killed at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC in 2009.  During a 2006 incident, an attacker shot six women at a Jewish community center in Seattle, killing one of them. In addition, preparation for high profile gatherings, like those that will take place during Pope Francis’ visit to the United States later this year, illustrate the need for this funding.

Credible threats against non-profit institutions across the country continue to be a problem. These incidents highlight the continuing need for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which was designed precisely so that at-risk nonprofit organizations that serve as community centers can acquire and install equipment to secure themselves against a potential terrorist attack.  These capital improvements include upgraded security measures, such as installing cameras, physical barriers, or controlled entry systems.

We strongly urge you to provide $25 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program in the FY2015 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill.  Thank you for your consideration of this request.


(Signatories include Reps. Joyce Beatty, Susan Brooks, Andre Carson, Matt Cartwright, David N. Cicilline , Yvete Clarke, Emanuel Cleaver, Danny K. Davis, Tammy Duckworth, Donna F. Edwards, Eliot Engel, Elizabeth H. Esty, Chaka Fattah , Stephen Fincher, Mike Fitzpatrick, Marcia Fudge, Joe Heck, Chris Van Hollen, William Keating, Peter King, Barbara Lee, Carolyn B. Maloney, Sean Patrick Maloney, Grace Meng, Gwen Moore, Jerrold Nadler, Donald Norcross, Bill Pascrell, Jr., Donald M. Payne, Jr., Scott Peters, Charles Rangel, Loretta Sanchez, John Sarbanes, Jan Schakowsky, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, David Scott, Albio Sires, Dina Titus, Marc Veasey and Lee Zeldin.)

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