On June 30, 2020, the United States Secretary of Homeland Security announced final awards and allocations for the agency's fiscal year (FY) 2020 preparedness grant programs, including the Federal Homeland Security grant program known to us as the Non-Profit Security Grant Program (NSGP).
The intent of the NSGP is to provide non-profit organizations that are at high risk of a terrorist attack with resources required to address the greatest risks and build a culture of security preparedness. FY20 grants will bring an estimated $1,000,000 to Jewish organizations in Monmouth and Greater Middlesex counties -- funding support for target hardening and other physical security enhancements and activities.
In New Jersey, the state office of Homeland Security and Preparedness ( NJOHSP) facilitates these grants; it certified and notified recipients of their grant status this week.
"Every year, Jewish Federation strives to introduce new synagogues, Jewish schools, agencies, cultural and community centers to the grant program -- as well as help those needing additional funding to close their gaps -- to mitigate risks," said Susan Antman, Jewish Federation's Executive Director.
"Our Security Task Force and its director, Amy Keller, work closely with Jewish organizations in Monmouth and Greater Middlesex, supporting them in writing successful grant applications -- through facility risk assessments, workshops, and documentation," Antman added.
"The guidance that Jewish Federation is able to give organizations is amazing. These are resources well spent," said Boris Bronshteyn of Ateres Shlomo, Edison. "Federation enabled us to see our risks more clearly, identify ways to address that risk, and assisted us throughout the grant writing process. We have already implemented suggestions and the grant funding will be pivotal in securing our shul."
Each grant has a maximum award of $100,000 based on the individual application. The applications are reviewed and scored on a point system. This is a nationally competitive grant. This year, NJ has the distinction of coming in "second place" for funding and number of grants awarded. "Our second place standing is attributable to a combination of factors," said Keller. "Some organizations have more risk than others and better applications boost our placement. Preparation is key to writing and submitting a grant application. We are committed to providing guidance and resources to applicants to put their best grant forward."
"In the five most recent grant cycles, including FY2020, Jewish Federation has supported dozens of organizations in our community in securing nearly $5 million for security enhancements -- through grants such as these," added Antman.
Emilie Kovit-Meyer of Congregation B'nai Israel, Rumson, said, "We take security seriously at CBI, having invested thousands of dollars over the past few years on security improvements and target hardening. Working with Federation on this year’s grant was truly a great experience. With all the craziness of COVID in the midst of submission deadlines, the patience and assistance we received from Federation was remarkable. Knowing there were others out there looking for assistance I never felt rushed or put off. This Federal funding will enable us to close any gaps we have, making our members more secure, as anti-Semitism and hate are more prevalent in our area."
Throughout the year, members of Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey's Jewish Community Relations Council ( JCRC) lobby in-state and with our partners on Washington for the continuation of the NSGP program and expansion of approved categories. Recently, this resulted in the addition of security personnel to the previously "hardgoods"-only grant and an increase in funding affecting our local and neighboring communities.
"From the security assessment to the submission, Federation's Director of Security Initiatives was there helping and guiding us. Federation provided invaluable input to our successful application. I know Federation will still be there as we maneuver through the implementation phase." Heather Kibel, Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple, New Brunswick
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Preparedness, NSGP funding assists non-profit organizations in obtaining the resources required to support and integrate the preparedness activities of non-profit organizations that are at high risk of a terrorist attack with broader state and local preparedness efforts. It is also designed to promote coordination and collaboration in emergency preparedness activities among public and private community representatives, as well as state and local government agencies.
If you would like to know more about the Non-Profit Security Grant Program or Jewish Federation in the Heart of NJ's Community Security Initiatives, contact Amy Keller.
Jewish Federation's security initiatives depend on the generous donations of Federation supporters. If you would like to help advance Federation programs, such as Jewish communal security, please donate.
"Marlboro Jewish Center is not new to the Non-Profit Security Grant. I have applied for grants with success for years. What I value about our partnership with Federation is the keen eye of Federation's professionals in pointing out areas for improvement to facility security, security personnel, or security documentation," said Dara Winston. We are glad to have an organization such as Jewish Federation looking out for so many in the community."