State allocates $4.5 million for nonprofit security grants
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Security'Protecting the faithful'

State allocates $4.5 million for nonprofit security grants

Rep. Dan Frankel: “[W]e know well that antisemitism and other hateful ideologies are spreading, and houses of faith cannot meet that threat without our help.”

Jeff Finkelstein, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, at the Jan. 27 press conference announcing the funding (Photo courtesy of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh)
Jeff Finkelstein, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, at the Jan. 27 press conference announcing the funding (Photo courtesy of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh)

Pennsylvania elected officials and community leaders announced that $4.5 million is available to nonprofits to augment their security. The announcement came at a Jan. 27 press conference at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.

The money will be allocated to the Nonprofit Security Grant Fund Program, which is funded by Act 83 of 2019 and administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD).

“In 2021, the number of suspicious and antisemitic incidents in Pittsburgh doubled, so Jewish Pittsburgh is grateful for PCCD funding,” said Jeffrey H. Finkelstein, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. “The funding will help Jewish organizations continue their important work. More broadly, we know that when antisemitism rises, other faith-based communities and minorities are also being targeted. Funds from the PCCD Nonprofit Security Grant Program help safeguard Greater Pittsburgh as a whole.”

Rep. Dan Frankel (District 23) said the danger of violence against vulnerable groups is high and rising.

“We wish we lived in a world where we didn’t need millions of dollars to protect the faithful, but we know well that antisemitism and other hateful ideologies are spreading, and houses of faith cannot meet that threat without our help,” Frankel said. “We are here to support these vulnerable institutions today and into the future so that they can do their own important work without fear.”

Sen. Jay Costa (District 43) stressed that “folks should be able to gather, to worship, to play without fear of violence targeted at them because of who they love, their faith or their ethnicity. I wish we didn’t need these grants; I wish our community organizations were safe from acts of hate, but we’ve seen that’s not the case. This grant program has helped and will continue to help groups protect themselves and prevent violence. I’ll continue to fight for its funding as long as it’s needed.”

Act 83 directs PCCD to administer grants to nonprofits that principally serve people or institutions that are included “within a bias motivation category for single bias hate crime incidents” as identified by the FBI’s Hate Crime Statistics publication. Those categories include: race/ethnicity/ancestry; religion; sexual orientation; disability; gender; and gender identity.

Nonprofits applying for funds are eligible for a wide range of security enhancements for their Pennsylvania-based facilities, including safety and security planning; purchase of security equipment; metal detectors; surveillance equipment; deadbolts; emergency communication equipment; and trauma kits.

More information can be found here. PJC

Toby Tabachnick

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