May 08, 2019

Gillibrand, Schumer Announce Bipartisan Push to Increase Funding to Protect Nonprofit Institutions against Terror Attacks

Recent Attacks on Places of Worship Highlight the Vulnerabilities that Communities Across the Country Face - Increase in Funding Would Provide Critical Support and Help Enhance Security for Nonprofit Institutions At Risk of Terror Attacks; Gillibrand, Schumer Lead Bipartisan Coalition of 33 Senators to Increase Funding for Nonprofit Security Grant Program by $15 Million - Would Raise Total Funding from $60 Million to $75 Million

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today announced a new bipartisan push to increase funding to protect nonprofit institutions that are at risk of being targeted for terror attacks. As the Senate considers funding priorities for the upcoming Fiscal Year, Gillibrand and Schumer are leading the bipartisan coalition of 33 senators to provide a total of $75 million in the 2020 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP). This program provides essential funding for nonprofit institutions to install critical physical security enhancements and prevent attacks. The requested $75 million would increase total funding for the program by $15 million from last year’s level, strengthening the NSGP and helping to ensure that Congress is doing everything possible to protect communities from targeted terror attacks.

Nobody should ever have to live in fear of being targeted for a terror attack. It is a tragedy that hate crimes are on the rise in our country, and one way Congress can help protect vulnerable communities is by increasing funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This program helps nonprofits pay for the tools they need to stay safe. I am proud to lead the fight every year in the Senate to shield against the people who would commit these horrific crimes. Congress must do everything possible to prevent any direct threats to our communities, and I urge my colleagues to include this vital funding in next year’s appropriations bill.”

“There have been far too many heartless and horrific hate crimes targeting places of worship throughout America recently and we must do all we can to help people of all faiths worship in security and safety,” said Senator Schumer. “This increase in funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program will help protect all houses of worship and other nonprofits from these horrific acts. I will continue fighting to find ways to stop the spread of hate, protect all houses of worship, and address gun violence and this funding is a critical way to advance these efforts.”

“We applaud a third of the Senate who are calling for increased funding for the nonprofit security grant program,” said William Daroff of the Jewish Federations of North America, which helped organize the Senate letter and a similar letter in the House of Representatives. “Since September 11th, nonprofits generally, and Jewish communal institutions specifically, have been the victim of an alarming number of threats and attacks. This program counters those threats by providing needed resources for target hardening, and the integration of nonprofit preparedness activities with broader state and local preparedness efforts.” The Jewish Federations has played a critical part in advancing the Nonprofit Security Grant Program since its inception on 2004.

The Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) helps nonprofits plan for and ready themselves against a terrorist attack by providing critical funding to support physical security enhancements to locations that are at high risk of a terrorist attack. This program has improved efforts to keep at-risk nonprofit organizations safe by promoting emergency preparedness coordination and collaboration activities between public and private community representatives, as well as with state and local government agencies.

Every year, Congress must specifically allocate funding for the NSGP. Gillibrand leads the fight to secure this vital funding every year and is requesting $75 million for NSGP – an increase of $15 million – for the Fiscal Year 2020 Homeland Security Appropriations bill. This would specifically provide $50 million for the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) NSGP and $25 million for the state-based NSGP.

This request for an increase in funding comes as recent attacks on places of worship highlight the unique vulnerabilities that communities face across the country. The February 2019 FBI, DHS, and NCTC Joint Intelligence Bulletin (JIB) found that domestic extremists, perpetrators of hate crimes, homegrown violent extremists, and foreign terrorist organizations will continue to pose a lethal threat to faith-based communities, particularly against perceived soft targets such as religious and cultural facilities. Recent incidents targeting synagogues, churches, mosques, and other religious centers and nonprofit organizations include shooting and mass shooting, arson and fire bombing, attempted bombing, assault, death threats, hoaxes, vandalism, and property damage. These incidents illustrate the many credible threats against nonprofit institutions across the country and must be taken seriously.

The full text of Senator Gillibrand’s letter can be found here and below:

The Honorable Shelley Moore Capito

Chairman

Senate Appropriations         

Subcommittee on Homeland Security

United States Senate

Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Jon Tester

Ranking Member

Senate Appropriations

Subcommittee on Homeland Security

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Capito and Ranking Member Tester,

Thank you for your work in helping to ensure additional resources for the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) for Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19). Funding the NSGP program is critical to protecting communities across our nation from threats. As you craft the Fiscal Year 2020 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill, we respectfully ask you to fund NSGP under the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) at $50 million and also fund NSGP at $25 million for non-UASI communities, under the State Homeland Security Grant Program.

The NSGP provides critical funding to support physical security enhancements to nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of a terrorist attack. The program has improved efforts to keep at-risk nonprofit organizations safe by promoting emergency preparedness coordination and collaboration activities between public and private community representatives as well as state and local government agencies. Since today’s threat environment continues to evolve quickly, the NSGP helps nonprofits plan for and ready themselves against a terrorist attack.

These funds are especially important considering the February 2019 FBI, DHS, and NCTC Joint Intelligence Bulletin (JIB), which found that domestic extremists; perpetrators of hate crimes; homegrown violent extremists; and foreign terrorist organizations will continue to pose a lethal threat to faith-based communities in the Homeland, particularly against perceived soft targets such as religious and cultural facilities. In light of this enduring threat, and the difficulty of detecting US-based threat actors, the JIB assesses that those responsible for ensuring the security of houses of worship (e.g., synagogues, churches, and mosques), cultural community centers, and other establishments or individuals associated with various faiths, must remain vigilant. 

Other reporting supports this concern. According to the public record, recent incidents targeting synagogues, churches, mosques, and other religious centers and nonprofit organizations include shooting and mass shooting, arson and fire bombing, attempted bombing, assault, death threats, hoaxes, vandalism, and property damage. These incidents illustrate the many credible threats against nonprofit institutions across the country and must be taken seriously.

With the rise of hate groups in our nation, the record of threats facing members of our community, and the February 2019 assessment by U.S. Counterterrorism agencies that the threat to faith-based communities posed by domestic extremists is enduring, now more than ever Congress needs to strengthen the NSGP program. For these reasons, we respectfully encourage you to fund the UASI NSGP at $50 million and $25 million for non-UASI, so our nation can do all it can to prevent direct threats to communities and protect at-risk nonprofit institutions from these grave threats.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,