Applications will be available this month for security grants from the commonwealth for nonprofit communal facilities such as synagogues, JCCs and senior centers, according to the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition. The grants will be made pursuant to Act 83 of 2019.
Act 83 authorizes $5 million to be awarded to organizations throughout Pennsylvania by June 30. The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency will administer the allocations. The application process will be disclosed on the PCCD website at pccd.pa.gov.
Each individual nonprofit community or communal facility has options for applying for grants.
For example, grants up to $25,000 ($5,000 minimum) will be made outright, without matching funds, while grants above that threshold, up to $75,000, will require a 33% match. Grants above the $75,000 threshold, up to $150,000, will require a 50% match. Applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Security enhancements can include safety and security planning; buying safety and security equipment; and buying security-related technology. The latter may include, but is not limited to metal detectors; protective lighting; surveillance equipment; emergency communications equipment; electronic locksets; deadbolts; trauma kits; theft control devices; safety and security training; threat awareness and response training; upgrades to existing structures that enhance safety and security; vulnerability and threat assessments; specialty-trained canines; and any other safety or security-related project that enhances safety or security of the nonprofit organization.
The PJC recommends that any nonprofit organization interested in obtaining a grant prepare in advance for the application process. While not required, such organizations may want to contact the state police for a free security assessment.
The shooting at the Tree of Life building in 2018 was a catalyst for speeding passage of the bill that became Act 83, with the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Community Relations Council instrumental in the process.