01.29.20

AMIDST PERSISTENT AND GROWING SPATE OF HATE CRIMES IN NEW YORK CITY, SCHUMER, GILLIBRAND ANNOUNCE FEMA & DHS-LED WEBINARS ON NONPROFIT SECURITY GRANT PROGRAM FOR NYC NONPROFITS LIKE SCHOOLS, SHULS, CONGREGATIONS AND MORE; SENATORS CALL ON FEMA & NYS DHSES TO HOLD PUBLIC FORUM IN BROOKLYN TO ASSIST APPLICANTS

Following Senators’ Push, FEMA/DHS Webinars Will Aid Nonprofit Orgs In Program Application Process; Federal Grant Program Provides Funding To Protect Nonprofit Institutions Against Terror Attacks

NYS DHSES Solicits, Scores & Evaluates All NYS Applications, Including NYC Apps, on Behalf of Feds; High Volume Of NYC Apps Is Anticipated

Senators: Recent Anti-Semitic Attacks On Places Of Worship and More Show Vulnerability And Need For Funding To Enhance Security; FEMA And NYS DHSES Should Host Public, In-Person Forum For NYC-Area Nonprofits

U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Grant Programs Directorate, in partnership with the DHS Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives, is hosting nine webinars on the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) over the next couple of months for faith-based, community, and nonprofit partners. The webinars will include an overview of the NSGP, information on grant program eligibility and allowable costs, and a moderated question and answer session.

To supplement the webinars, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand called on FEMA and NYS DHSES to host a public, in-person forum in Brooklyn for NSGP applicants in the community. The NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) works on behalf of FEMA and DHS to solicit, review, and score federal NSGP applications from New York State, including New York City applications.

“New York City community members, in Brooklyn and everywhere, should not feel vulnerable while gathering in their houses of worship, while dropping their kids off at school, or while heading to the local JCC or any other faith-based community center. Sadly, after hearing from communities in Brooklyn, and around the city, the fact of the matter is that many feel unsafe,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “That is why I am pushing to increase the resources we dedicate to the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, and why I am urging FEMA and NYS DHSES to work directly with local applicants in a public forum hosted in Brooklyn. We must confront this rise in anti-Semitism and other hate crimes head-on.”

“In the last few years, we have witnessed far too many attacks on Jewish and religious communities in New York City and across our state. Few things are more heinous than attacking people for their religious beliefs, traditions and culture,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “From conversations with religious leaders and communities, it’s clear there is more work to be done to prevent anti-Semitic violence and other hateful activity, and to ensure that all New Yorkers can worship and live in peace. That’s why I am pressing for an increase in NSGP funding to protect places of worship and other nonprofits, and I am pushing FEMA and NYS DHSES to host a public forum in Brooklyn to help our Jewish and faith-based community members secure these vital resources."

These webinars and request for a public forum in Brooklyn for local nonprofit organizations come as recent attacks on places of worship highlight the unique vulnerabilities that communities face across the country. The February 2019 FBI, DHS, and NCTC Joint Intelligence Bulletin (JIB) found that domestic extremists, perpetrators of hate crimes, homegrown violent extremists, and foreign terrorist organizations will continue to pose a lethal threat to faith-based communities, particularly against perceived soft targets such as religious and cultural facilities. Recent incidents targeting synagogues, churches, mosques, and other religious centers and nonprofit organizations include the attack at a Hanukkah celebration in Monsey, NY, the shooting inside West Freeway Church in Texas, and the Charleston church massacre in which nine African Americans were killed during a Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Schumer and Gillibrand have long advocated for the robust funding of the Nonprofit Security Grant Program. As part of the recent bipartisan budget deal, Schumer was able to negotiate and deliver $90,000,000 for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program—a thirty million dollar increase. Previously, Gillibrand led with a bipartisan coalition of senators, to increase funding for the NSGP in Fiscal Year 2020 to $75 million. Most recently, following the horrific Hanukkah attack in Monsey, New York, Senator Schumer launched another funding request for $360 million, which is in addition to the $90 million secured in the budget deal.

The Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) helps nonprofits plan for and ready themselves against a terrorist attack by providing critical funding to support physical security enhancements to locations that are at high risk of a terrorist attack. This program has improved efforts to keep at-risk nonprofit organizations safe by promoting emergency preparedness coordination and collaboration activities between public and private community representatives, as well as with state and local government agencies. Synagogues, churches, mosques, schools and other faith-based community centers, like JCCs, are just a few examples of nonprofit organizations that could apply for NSGP funds. 

The text of the Senators’ letter to FEMA and NYS DHSES, as well as the complete webinar schedule appears below:

Dear Commissioner Melville,

In the wake of a troubling string of anti-Semitic attacks against the Jewish community in New York City, we write to request that the NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) host a forum in Brooklyn in its capacity as the state administrative agency that solicits, reviews, and scores federal Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) applications on behalf of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency (DHS/FEMA).

Following the December 10 shooting in Jersey City, during which two people with roots in Hasidic Williamsburg were murdered, and the December 28 attack on the Jewish community in Monsey, which was perpetrated by someone who allegedly searched online for “Zionist Temples” in Staten Island, our offices have received multiple requests from yeshivas, synagogues, and other community organizations in New York City for guidance on how to apply for the NSGP. Following these attacks, I, Senator Schumer, was joined in my office by leaders of the Sikh, Muslim, Christian and Jewish faiths for an event supporting my push to greatly increase the federal resources now dedicated to the NSGP.

Anticipating a high volume of NSGP applications originating in New York City, we ask that DHSES host a forum in Brooklyn so that all potential NSGP applicants in the five boroughs have the time and institutional assistance necessary to put together strong applications. Specifically, it would be helpful if DHSES could discuss the following with potential applicants: Prequalification, Risk Assessment, the DHSES E-Grants System, Registration with NYS Charities Bureau, Preparation of a Mission Statement, and Investment Justification and Scoring Criteria in previous years. 

We are grateful that DHS/FEMA has scheduled a nationwide webinar series on the basics of the NSGP, but the Jewish community in New York City deserves an in-person briefing to answer their questions about specific technical components of the application process. Not only will this benefit them directly, but it will also serve as an opportunity for all communities of faith in New York City to explore every possible avenue to increase their security measures in the aftermath of the horrific attacks of the last two months. Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer                Kirsten Gillibrand                 

United States Senator              United States Senator            

cc:  Pete T. Gaynor

       Administrator, FEMA      

Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) Webinars for Nonprofit Partners:

Date

Time (ET)

Webinar Title and Link

Call-in Line

Call Code

January 30

2:00 PM

FEMA 101: Overview of the DHS Center & FEMA

No call-in line; webinar audio only.

N/A

February 4

2:30 PM

Nonprofit Security Grant Program Overview

1-866-454-4207

368026#

February 12

2:30 PM

Nonprofit Security Grant Program Overview

1-866-454-4208

368026#

February 20

2:00 PM

Protecting Your Organization: The FY 2020 Nonprofit Security Grant Program, and other Resources to Help Keep Your Facility Safe

No call-in line; webinar audio only.

N/A

February 26

2:30 PM

Nonprofit Security Grant Program Overview

1-877-446-3914

289309#

March 5

2:30 PM

Nonprofit Security Grant Program Overview

1-877-446-3915

289309#

March 12

2:30 PM

Nonprofit Security Grant Program Overview

1-877-446-3916

289309#

March 19

2:30 PM

Nonprofit Security Grant Program Overview

1-877-446-3917

289309#

March 26

2:30 PM

Nonprofit Security Grant Program Overview

1-877-446-3918

289309#

 



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