The $1.1 trillion funding bill President Barack Obama signed into law on Dec. 18 includes a $20 million appropriation for the Department of Homeland Security’s Nonprofit Security Grants Program — a $7 million increase from fiscal year 2015 and the highest level of funding since 2007.
The Orthodox Union played a pivotal role, along with the Jewish Federations of North America and other coalition partners, in launching the program in 2005. The funding initally was set at $25 million but decreased over the years, as fears of terrorist attacks waned.
The OU praised the funding increase in a statement. The group had lobbied for increased funding, citing a rise in anti-Semitic incidents and threats of violence against Jewish institutions.
“The disturbing rise in threats and attacks on community institutions has made the Jewish community even more conscious of the need to keep our schools and synagogues safe,” said Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy at the OU. “The NSGP provides critical funds to help increase the security of these buildings.”
The text says that the funding must go to nonprofits that are “determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security to be at high risk of a terrorist attack.”
In a statement, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh C. Johnson said he was pleased with the funding levels provided in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, calling it a “strong bill for homeland security.”