June 24, 2022

Strengthening Your Organization through Security Grants

Dorit Zimerman Security Grant Consultant

Nonprofit organizations, including synagogues and Jewish day schools, recently completed and submitted their annual FEMA security grant applications. This grant program is part of a comprehensive set of measures implemented by the Department of Homeland Security to provide funding for target hardening and other physical security enhancements to those at elevated risk of terrorist attacks. 

Federation’s Security Department is here to help with the grant-writing process, as successful applicants can receive up to $150,000 to help ensure the safety of their community members, staff, and students. The desire to purchase costly items such as bollards to protect against vehicle-borne attacks, impact-resistant doors, and updated CCTV systems has increased this year amid the worrying rise in antisemitism.  

Robert Wilson, Federation’s Chief Security Officer, explains that keeping the community safe has to do with deterring criminals from planning or perpetrating an attack, detecting any prohibited intrusions within a facility, delaying any active invasions, and denying improper access to a facility; all of which can be heightened with increased physical security improvements and training activities made possible with government funding. Unfortunately, tragic events like the hostage situation at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville Texas earlier this year and the horrific shootings at the Chabad of Poway in Poway California and Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2019 and 2018 respectively show that we should always be looking at ways to train our staff and community and further harden our facilities. And the prevalence of school shootings across the U.S. further amplifies the need to make sure our students at Jewish early childhood centers, day schools, congregational schools, and yeshivas are kept as safe as possible by mitigating security risks. 

How can you use Federation in your efforts to secure funding for these types of grants? 

Schedule an onsite Security Risk Assessment of your facility. If you do not have a Risk Assessment or have one that is a few years old, we can either do a site-visit and complete one for you or discuss options like using your local police force or risk agencies. These risk assessments are vital for the grant-writing process as they identify security vulnerabilities at your facility, thereby highlighting the areas that need to be hardened through Governmental funding.  

Report any non-emergency suspicious or antisemitic occurrences at your facility to us by filing an Incident Report. We keep all these reports on record – combined, they can help you and neighboring Jewish facilities when it comes to writing a security grant application.  

Let us assess your training needs. Our Director of Community Security Training will meet with you to decipher what types of training your organization needs, e.g., active threat training, situational awareness training, etc., which can then be included in your funding application.  

Ask for our advice. I am your Security Grant Consultant and am happy to discuss your proposal, answer any questions, and go through your application before it is submitted. The next round of security funding is the State of New Jersey Nonprofit Security Grant that takes place in the early fall. Please watch for correspondence from us regarding this ahead of time. If you have any grant–related queries, contact me at [email protected]. We hope to make your application process as smooth and successful as possible!