The following update was issued Thursday, March 22, 2018, by Richard Sandler, Chair, Jewish Federations of North America Board of Trustees.
I am pleased to report that the Omnibus Spending Bill, which passed the House of Representatives yesterday and the Senate early this morning, includes support for a number of programs critical to Federations. It is anticipated that President Trump will sign the legislation today, which would fund the federal government through the next fiscal year, and avert a government shut-down.
The Jewish Federations of North America-Washington office was instrumental in advocating for increasing the funds appropriated for the Non-Profit Security Grant Program from $25 million to $60 million (including $10 million for smaller communities) and doubling federal funding for our Holocaust Survivor grant program from $2.5 million to $5 million.
These increases in funding will provide essential funds to allow the Jewish community to better protect itself, as well as providing additional resources to care for Survivors, twenty-five percent of whom live at or beneath the poverty level.
Given the current fiscal environment and the challenges in Washington, this success is unprecedented and frankly a testament to the hard work of the JFNA Washington team – as well as that of the network of Federation leaders and professionals across the nation. When we work together as a federation system, we can truly move mountains in a way that none of us could do alone.
Below is the news release that we issued last night with further details.
JFNA Hails Congress for Increasing Funding to $5 Million to Help Holocaust Survivors & to $60 Million to Protect Organizations Vulnerable to Terrorist Threats
Washington – The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) today hailed Congress for bolstering nonprofit security funding from $25 million to $60 million, and for doubling assistance for Holocaust survivors from $2.5 million to $5 million in the pending spending package for fiscal year 2018.
Last night, Congress released the text of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (“the Omnibus Bill”). Its passage, widely expected by Friday night, will keep the government operating for the remainder of the fiscal year. Included in the bill are increased allocations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Administration for Community Living’s Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program, which bolster the social services work and security efforts of Jewish Federations.
Additionally, JFNA applauds the decision to provide $120 million for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program; to provide the U.S. State Department’s Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism with at least $1 million for programs to combat anti-Semitism abroad; to provide funding for the U.S. State Department’s Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues; and to preserve the critical Johnson Amendment, which prohibits charities from participating in political campaigns for public office.
According to assessments by the nation’s leading counterterrorism experts, including the FBI, DHS, and the National Counterterrorism Center, nonprofits generally, and Jewish communal institutions specifically, have been the victims of a growing number of violent attacks. For nearly a decade, JFNA has led the effort to secure funding for NSGP and to assist Jewish agencies in applying for NSGP grants. The funding will continue to help nonprofits acquire and install physical security enhancements and access training intended to deter, detect, and mitigate the consequences of terrorists and extremist threats.
"At a time when anti-Semitism is at an alarming high, this $60 million in new funding will provide critical resources to enhance the physical security of the nonprofit sector that helps to supplement the work of local and federal law enforcement to keep our communities safe," said William Daroff, senior vice president for public policy and director of the Washington office of JFNA. “We applaud leaders of the key Homeland Security and Appropriations Committees for recognizing the merits of the program and increasing the program’s funding level this year, and for continually championing these all-important security grants. We also thank our communal partners at the Orthodox Union, Agudath Israel, and Jewish Community Relations Councils and Federations across the nation.”
JFNA also commends Congress for doubling funding for Holocaust survivor care to $5 million. The Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program is a public-private partnership between the DHHS Administration for Community Living, JFNA’s Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care, and community-based health and supportive services providers to better address the unique needs of the country’s aging Holocaust survivor population.
The new funds will allow providers to serve twice as many survivors and family caregivers as well as train twice as many staff; conduct greater research in and develop person-centered, trauma-informed (PCTI) care materials, tools, and resources; provide more robust technical assistance, curriculum, and opportunities to train the Aging Services Network in PCTI care; and establish private sector partnerships to help address food insecurity and the emergency financial assistance needs of low-income Holocaust survivors. To learn more, visit https://jewishfederations.org/holocaust-survivor-care.
“There are approximately 100,000 Holocaust survivors living in the United States today, with an estimated 30,000 living in poverty,” said Daroff. “By doubling funding levels to $5 million, the program now will be able to provide immediate support to ensure that Holocaust survivors are able to live in dignity and comfort for the remainder of their lives.”