budget talk

Senate Dems propose holding nonprofit security grant funding at 2021 levels

A source close to the appropriations process told JI there’s still room to increase the NSGP funding in negotiations with the House

Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV)

Senate Democrats are pushing to keep funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program at its current level in the coming year, according to their proposal for 2022 government funding, which was released on Monday afternoon.

The program — which provides nonprofits and religious groups with funding to enhance their security — received $180 million in 2021. The decision to maintain the current level — which matches the proposal from the House of Representatives — comes even though the program was able to fund less than half of the grant applications received in 2021, and amid a spike in hate crimes over the last year.

Advocates for increased funding — who had largely coalesced around $360 million as the appropriate funding level for 2022 — say they’ll keep pushing for more funding.

“I will continue to work with Senate leadership to ensure that Congress allocates increased and robust resources for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program this year,” Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) told Jewish Insider. “As made clear by the alarming uptick in antisemitic incidents in recent months, there is an urgent need to provide vulnerable Jewish institutions with physical security enhancements.”

A source close to the appropriations process told JI that the funding level could be increased in final negotiations between the House and Senate, but that ensuring the NSGP received funding in both the House and Senate bills was a critical first step.

Rabbi Abba Cohen, Agudath Israel of America’s vice president for government affairs, told JI he “remain[s] optimistic about the program and its funding” and noted that this is far from the first hurdle NSGP advocates have faced.

“Those of us who were engaged in this effort from the start understood that there would be bumps in the road and we surely experienced them early on, as Congress wasn’t fully convinced of the need and urgency of this aid,” Cohen said. “But what’s important is that the mindset has changed — resulting in the recent steady increase of funding — due to the very real threat and danger our community has faced and the violence it has experienced. This reality sadly remains and, with it, strong support for the program and the possibility of greater overall funding.”

Nathan Diament, executive director of the Orthodox Union Action Center, said the OU is hopeful the funding level will increase before the bill is finalized. “The process is far from over,” he noted.

“The demand for NSGP grants rejected in this year’s applications warrants more funding,” Diament added, noting that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) supports increasing funding for the program.

In a statement to JI, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt called on the Senate to bump up its funding while emphasizing that “threats to Jewish and other non-profit organizations are at an all-time high.”

“While ADL appreciates that funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program remains at current levels, we urge the Senate to increase its funding to meet the rising demand,” Greenblatt said. “We are working closely with Congress and the Administration to secure these critical resources.”

Jewish Federations of North America CEO Eric Fingerhut echoed Greenblatt, saying JFNA will also continue advocating for additional NSGP funding, “in light of the frightening and unacceptable increase in violent extremism and antisemitic attacks.”

In the proposed labor, health and human services and education funding bill, also released on Monday, the Senate proposed providing $6 million for the Holocaust Survicor Assistance program, well below the $10 million the House proposed for 2022. JFNA’s senior vice president for public affairs, Elana Broaitman, urged the Senate to pass the House-recommended funding level.

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