Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, and Rep. John Katko (R-NY), Ranking Member of the Committee, announced the introduction of the Nonprofit Security Grant Program Improvement Act of 2022 (H.R. 6825), bipartisan legislation to expand and strengthen the Nonprofit Security Grant Program that helps secure nonprofits and houses of worship against terrorism. In recent years, there has been a surge in threats against nonprofits, most recently including the January 15 attack on Congregation Beth Israel in Texas and an ongoing spate of bomb threats to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
To address an increasing demand for nonprofit security grant funding, H.R. 6825 authorizes the program at $500 million annually through FY 2028. Importantly, in response to the growth in the program, which was funded at $180 million last year, the bill directs FEMA to establish a dedicated office within FEMA to administer the program and provide greater outreach, engagement, education, technical assistance, and support to eligible nonprofits.
“Today, houses of worship and other nonprofit institutions, regardless of whether they are located in urban and rural communities, face a complex, diffused, and dynamic terrorism threat landscape. As such, it falls to Congress to ensure that the Nonprofit Security Grant Program is authorized at a level to reach at-risk institutions who need Federal support to keep their spaces safe for their community members and the public,” said Chairman Thompson. “I am proud of the bipartisan work that Congress has done with DHS in recent years to authorize and fund this critical grant program, but the today’s terrorism threat picture demands we do more. I am pleased that the Committee is meeting the moment and is scheduled to consider this legislation this week.”
“FEMA’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) is one of the most important resources available to nonprofit organizations, especially our houses of worship,” said Ranking Member Katko. “Faith-based communities across the country face varying levels of discrimination, and it is vital that we strengthen our nation’s emergency preparedness posture to prevent violence against all religious groups. I am proud to co-sponsor this legislation that will enhance security and protect Americans and our faith communities from terrorism and hate crimes.”
The Nonprofit Security Grant Program Improvement Act of 2022 has also received endorsements from The Jewish Federations of North America, Secure Community Network, The Sikh Coalition, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, and ADL.
“The Nonprofit Security Grant Program is critically important to the safety and security of faith communities and others,” said The Jewish Federations of North America Senior Vice President for Public Affairs Elana Broitman. “The Jewish Federations would like to thank Chairman Thompson and Ranking Member Katko for this smart, comprehensive bill that will strengthen the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, enhance administration and oversight, and advance opportunities for more nonprofit institutions in need to obtain critical funding. The Jewish Federations urge Members of Congress to support the bill toward a swift passage.”
“The Sikh community knows all too well the threat of hate-fueled attacks; later this year, we will solemnly mark the ten-year anniversary of the mass shooting at a Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, where a white supremacist gunman killed six worshipers and terrorized so many others. The introduction of this bill will help more vulnerable houses of worship obtain the critical resources they need to protect our communities from these threats,” said The Sikh Coalition Senior Policy & Advocacy Manager Sim J. Singh Attariwala.
“As antisemitism and hate continue to rise across the country, community and religious institutions need more resources to protect themselves than ever before. The recent hostage crisis in Colleyville, Texas highlighted the very real threat facing synagogues and other religious institutions in today’s environment. The Nonprofit Security Grant Improvement Act of 2022 will bolster available funds to ensure that the Jewish community and other faith-based communities can worship safely and securely. We applaud Congressmen Thompson and Katko for this critical effort and urge the bill’s swift passage,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.
Additional original cosponsors: Reps. Jackson Lee (D-TX), Langevin (D-RI), Payne (D-NJ), Correa (D-CA), Slotkin (D-MI), Van Drew (R-NJ), Cleaver (D-MO), Green (D-TX), Clarke (D-NY), Swalwell (D-CA), Titus (D-NV), Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Rice (D-NY), Demings (D-FL), Barragán (D-CA), Gottheimer (D-NJ), Luria (D-VA), Malinowski (D-NJ), Torres (D-NY).