A bipartisan group of senators is pushing for a major improve in funding for nonprofit safety grants in response to latest federal legislation enforcement studies concerning threats to Jewish and different faith-based communities.
Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Rob Portman (R-OH), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and James Lankford (R-OK) sent a letter this week to the leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Homeland Safety requesting as much as $360 million in funding for the Nonprofit Safety Grant Program (NSGP) for the 2021 fiscal yr — which might represent a fourfold improve over the funding for this system in 2020.
The Senate has at present proposed $90 million in funding for this system — holding even with the 2020 funding degree — whereas the Home proposed a rise to $360 million. The letter calls on the Senate to “be sure that the NSGP is appropriately funded to fulfill the wants of at-risk populations” in the course of the negotiating course of with the Home.
“At a time of heightened menace to nonprofit faith- and community-based organizations, a bolstered NSGP will proceed to offer our nonprofit companions with important sources and instruments they should defend lives and property,” the letter continues.
In line with the letter, solely one-third of the nonprofits that apply for funding from the NSGP truly obtain it, and the demand is predicted to develop “considerably extra” within the coming yr.
The letter cites latest studies from federal legislation enforcement businesses that racially and ethnically motivated violent extremists pose an ongoing menace to the Jewish group specifically, in addition to 2019 FBI hate crime statistics that confirmed a major improve in antisemitic hate crimes.
“The rise in antisemitic and hate-fueled crimes throughout New York is unconscionable. No group ought to should reside in worry because of who they’re or how they worship,” Gillibrand mentioned in a press launch. “I’ll at all times struggle to develop NSGP grants in order that New Yorkers, and Individuals throughout the nation, can collect communally or worship freely and safely, towards the specter of violence.”
The letter’s different signatories echoed this sentiment.
“At a time when we now have seen an increase in violence towards communities of religion, we now have a accountability to make sure this program is appropriately funded to guard at-risk organizations and communities. I’m proud to hitch my bipartisan colleagues to assist this significant program,” Portman mentioned within the press launch.
“Antisemitic violence within the U.S. has grown at an alarming price,” Rosen mentioned. “Whether or not it’s in Nevada or in any state throughout the nation, we should arise towards hateful violence. I’m proud to hitch my colleagues in demanding that we correctly defend locations of worship.”
“As antisemitism reached a daunting new excessive final yr, we should proceed to search out methods to assist stop terrorist acts and likewise empower our nonprofits to proactively set up safeguards and safety measures, which they sadly must do however don’t essentially have the funds to completely accomplish with out these alternatives for federal help,” Lankford mentioned.
Eric Fingerhut, president and CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America — who recently told Jewish Insider that securing elevated funding for nonprofit safety was a prime precedence for his group — praised the letter.
“We all know that eradicating antisemitism means addressing violent hate and extremism wherever it exists in partnership with our elected officers and legislation enforcement,” Fingerhut mentioned within the Senate press launch. “For these causes we thank Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, together with Senators Rob Portman, Gary Peters, James Lankford and Jacky Rosen, for his or her management on urging elevated funding this yr to fulfill the rising safety wants of nonprofit faith- and community-based organizations.”
Gillibrand additionally led a push for elevated NSGP funding final yr with Senate Minority Chief Chuck Schumer (D-NY), securing a rise in funding for this system from $60 million to $90 million for the 2020 fiscal yr.