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Newsom, facing pressure from Jewish lawmakers, signs budget funding nonprofit security grant program

The 2024 budget commits $20 million to the state’s nonprofit security grant program — nearly $30 million less than last year’s funding level, and far below the $80 million sought by Jewish community activists during their advocacy day in Sacramento in May

PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California on May 2, 2023.

With antisemitic incidents spiking in California, Jewish advocates for increased funding for the state’s nonprofit security grant program were bracing for the worst, given the state’s $30 billion budget deficit. But when Gov. Gavin Newsom, who had cut the program in his original budget proposal, signed the state’s annual budget bill on Monday, Jewish leaders were guardedly optimistic at the outcome.

The 2024 budget commits $20 million to the state’s nonprofit security grant program — nearly $30 million less than last year’s funding level, and far below the $80 million sought by Jewish community activists during their advocacy day in Sacramento in May. 

“Would I have preferred to have $50 million again? Of course I would. But given the real budgetary constraints that we were facing this year, I think this is a good outcome,” California Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, an Encino Democrat who chairs the Legislative Jewish Caucus, told Jewish Insider, noting that “a lot of programs were completely zeroed out.”  

Antisemitic bias incidents increased 24% from 2021 to 2022, according to data released by the California attorney general’s office in June.

The state awarded grants totaling nearly $50 million to nonprofit organizations seeking funding for security systems last year. Only 38% of applicants received funding, according to the Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California, which advocates on behalf of the state’s Jewish federations. 

“There will be a lot of organizations that there won’t be funding for,” said JPAC’s executive director, David Bocarsly. “We will continue to advocate for funding to be able to help other organizations in future years.”

In September, Newsom signed a bill extending the nonprofit security grant program indefinitely. Still, it requires the funds to be appropriated each year in the annual budgetary process. 

This year’s $20 million in funding “continues to set the precedent that irrespective of whether we have a good budget or a bad budget, that this is an essential program, and that the state should fund it every year,” said Gabriel. 

A spokesperson for Newsom did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

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