Lawmakers push for additional funding for nonprofit security grants, antisemitism envoy

Large bipartisan groups of House members call for an increase to $385 million for the NSGP in 2025

MARCO BELLO/AFP via Getty Images

A Miami Beach police patrol drives past Temple Emanu-El synagogue in Miami Beach, Florida, on October 9, 2023, after Hamas launched an attack on Israel.

Large bipartisan groups of House lawmakers requested last week that the House Appropriations Committee substantially increase funding in 2025 for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, the State Department’s office for the special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism and the Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program. 

The requests, submitted in letters to committee leaders, come at a time of heightened antisemitism both domestically and globally, and face a restrictive budget environment. It’s not clear that 2025 government funding will be finalized before the November election — a potential additional complication — given that Congress was delayed roughly six months in passing 2024 funding bills.

The NSGP, which provides funding to nonprofits and religious institutions to enhance security, suffered a funding cut from $305 million to $274.5 million in the 2024 Appropriations bill, but was supplemented with an additional $400 million through the foreign aid supplemental package.

A group of 120 House members requested that funding be boosted to $385 million in 2025, surpassing the $360 million request level lawmakers had maintained for years prior to Oct. 7.

“The NSGP program is a critical component to the nation’s response to domestic and international threats targeting the nonprofit sector, but the program is significantly over-subscribed,” the request letter argues. “Unfortunately, today’s threat environment provides a compelling public interest in preventing attacks that would disrupt the vital health, human, social, cultural, religious, and other humanitarian services to society. Such threats terrorize the lives and well-being of millions of Americans who operate, utilize, live, and work in their communities.”

Just over 40% of NSGP applications were fulfilled in 2023; the 2024 application process opened recently.

The NSGP funding letter was organized by Reps. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) and Michael McCaul (R-TX), both longtime advocates for the program.

“As we’ve seen play out on campuses in recent days and since Oct. 7, antisemitism continues to threaten the safety and well-being of Jewish students and the American Jewish community,” said Lauren Wolman, director of government relations at the Anti-Defamation League. “Congress must do everything within their power to help protect the Jewish community and all vulnerable communities. We will continue working with Congress to secure funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, one of the most tangible ways to protect and even save lives during this time of great peril.”

The request for the special envoy’s office, signed by 76 House members, asks for $3 million in funding for the office, and that the appropriations bill include language urging the State Department to ensure continuity in work and staffing in the event of a change in administrations following the November election, which would vacate the special envoy post during a presidential transition. 

The special envoy’s office was funded at $1.75 million for 2024, up from $1.5 million for 2023. Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt serves as the special envoy.

“While we applaud the efficient deployment of current staff and resources, the Special Envoy’s office needs more support to fully meet the global need to engage on the important issues within its purview,” the letter argues.

The request notes the “tangible and growing threat” to Jewish communities domestically and abroad, especially since Oct. 7, highlighting statistics and incidents that have proliferated across the globe in the past six months.

“At this critical moment when Jewish communities are wondering whether they can live proudly, openly, and safely, American leadership in the global fight against antisemitism is more important than ever,” the letter reads. “This increase in funding will make clear to the world the United States’ steadfast commitment to combating antisemitism.”

The letter says that “additional countries could benefit” from meetings with the office, and that Lipstadt and her office have been forced to decline meetings “solely due to lack of resources.”

The lawmakers raised concerns about the lack of “full-time equivalent staff positions” in the office, which would provide “continuity of knowledge, stability, and predictability integral to the continued operation… especially during times of transition.” The lack of such positions, the lawmakers said, raises concerns that the office’s programs will be sidelined.

Reps. Grace Meng (D-NY), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Kathy Manning (D-NC), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), Susan Wild (D-PA), David Kustoff (R-TN) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) led the letter. It’s supported by the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee and Jewish Federations of North America.

“As we face a crisis of rising global antisemitism with incidents and attitudes at historic highs in the U.S and around the world, the Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism is more important than ever,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt told JI. “We must ensure this office has the resources it needs to meet these challenges and to successfully carry out its important mission and mandate. This includes ensuring the office has the necessary staff to meet the demand and fulfill its critical role advocating for the safety and security of Jewish communities around the world.”

A third request from 107 bipartisan members calls for increasing funding for the Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program from $8.5 million in 2023 and 2024 to $10 million for 2025. 

The HSAP provides support to Holocaust survivors and victims of other aging populations impacted by trauma, including military veterans, first responders, domestic and childhood violence victims, refugees, disaster survivors and those affected by COVID-19. The program operates as a public-private partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services, JFNA and local providers.

It notes that around one-third of the 40,000 Holocaust survivors living in the U.S. today are impoverished, and that the program has helped develop new health care approaches applicable to a wider population as well.

The letter was led by Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Troy Balderson (R-OH).

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