US Nonprofit Security Grant Program gets raise in Federal Omnibus Package

Since the terrorist attack on Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, Jewish organizations have urged Congress to double the budget, increase aid to Israel.

An armored law enforcement vehicle is seen in the area where a man has reportedly taken people hostage at a synagogue during services that were being streamed live, in Colleyville, Texas, US January 15, 2022.  (photo credit: REUTERS/Shelby Tauber)
An armored law enforcement vehicle is seen in the area where a man has reportedly taken people hostage at a synagogue during services that were being streamed live, in Colleyville, Texas, US January 15, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Shelby Tauber)

WASHINGTON - The new federal omnibus bill includes $305 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, a significant increase from the current year’s $250 million.

The NSGP has been a major agenda item for many Jewish organizations. Since the terrorist attack on Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, Jewish organizations have urged Congress to double its budget. The program permits houses of worship and other threatened nonprofits to apply for grants of up to $150,000 each.

The money can be used for security measures such as fences, cameras, more secure doors and hiring of personnel. The bill would establish a dedicated NSGP office at the Department of Homeland Security, provide support mechanisms to eligible nonprofit organizations, and simplify and streamline the application process. It would also increase congressional oversight of the program.

Jewish organizations praise the bill

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, or Orthodox Union (OU) welcomed the new bill.

 CCTV security street camera (Illustrative) (credit: STOCKVAULT) CCTV security street camera (Illustrative) (credit: STOCKVAULT)

Orthodox Union Executive Director for Public Policy Nathan Diament said in a statement: “We are grateful to Sen. Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other key leaders for working with us to increase funding for the NSGP from $250 million in 2022 to $305 million in 2023.”

“The increased funding will help Jewish communities protect their facilities and members from increasing antisemitic violence. We will never stop working and fighting to make sure Jewish families can practice their faith openly and safely.”

SVP of Public Affairs at Jewish Federations of North America Elana Broitman said in a statement that the Federations are grateful to the “bipartisan Congressional champions who helped advance the significant funding increase for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, up from the $250 million passed in last year’s budget and the highest level to date in the history of the program.”

“Together with improvements to the program in the recently-passed NDAA, this is a historic acknowledgement by government leaders of the critical need for this program.”

Elana Broitman

“Together with improvements to the program in the recently-passed NDAA, this is a historic acknowledgement by government leaders of the critical need for this program,” she said. “We are disappointed that the program will be funded below the $360 million, the minimum necessary to meet rising security needs for Jewish and other faith communities as antisemitic incidents and violent domestic extremism are on the rise. Jewish Federations will continue to advocate for continued increases for this program next year, to ensure the safety and security of every Jewish and faith community.”

The omnibus bill also includes full $3.3 billion in security assistance for Israel as agreed in the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding between the countries. In addition, $500 million in missile defense cooperation, including for Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow were included, and so does $72.5 million in U.S.-Israel counter-drone and anti-tunneling cooperation. A $6 million funding was secured to establish a new U.S.-Israel Cybersecurity Cooperation Grant Program.

"AIPAC commends Congress for including key pro-Israel provisions in the omnibus funding bill for Fiscal Year 2023," the organization said in a statement. 

"Importantly, the legislation provides the full $3.3 billion in U.S. security assistance to Israel. This critical funding, with no added political conditions, reflects the strong bipartisan support for Israel’s security in Congress and the Biden administration," the statement reads.