Senate lawmakers push for increased funding for nonprofit security grants

33 Democratic senators urge $400 million for the program in 2025, while an overlapping bipartisan group called for ‘very robust funding’

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.

A bipartisan group of Senate lawmakers is pushing for increased funding in 2025 for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which helps religious institutions and nonprofits beef up their security, while an overlapping group of more than 30 Democrats is asking for $400 million — a record-high request level.

The two groups of lawmakers sent funding requests for the program to leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee last week, urging the funding hikes for the significantly oversubscribed program.

One letter, signed by 33 Democrats, requested $400 million for the program, the highest-ever request level from Capitol Hill lawmakers for full-year funding for the NSGP. It surpasses a $385 million request from bipartisan House lawmakers last month.

“The NSGP 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 letter reads, revealing that there was a 97% increase in applications this year to the tranche of NSGP funding for non-urban institutions, outpacing the number of applications for the entire NSGP funding pool in 2020.

The letter also notes that, for the first time, institutions in all 55 eligible states and territories applied for NSGP funding.

The program, funded at $305 million in 2023, fulfilled just 42% of applications in 2023, before the post-Oct. 7 spike in threats. In 2024, NSGP funding was cut to $274.5 million, although an additional $400 million was allocated in the foreign aid bill for Israel and other allies. 

The letter highlights the post-Oct. 7 threat environment to Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Arab communities, as well as the increased spate of bomb and active shooter threats to religious institutions. It lays out a series of nine attempted or successful attacks on religious institutions and nonprofits since Oct. 7, including an attack on a Jewish man leaving a synagogue and an attempted shooting at a Memphis Jewish school.

The letter was led by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Gary Peters (D-MI).

A second letter, which is bipartisan, calls for “very robust funding” for the NSGP, without specifying a request level, as has often been the practice in the Senate in past years.The letter’s text is otherwise exactly identical to the Democratic letter.

The bipartisan letter was signed by Sens. James Lankford (R-OK), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND).

The GOP signatories and Sinema did not respond to requests for comment.

The letters were supported by the Jewish Federations of North America, Anti-Defamation League and Orthodox Union. 

“Congress must do everything within its power to help protect the Jewish community and all vulnerable communities,” said Lauren Wolman, director of government relations at the ADL. “We are continuing to work with Congress on a bipartisan basis to support historic 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.”

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