Maryland awards millions in security grants to Jewish nonprofits

Security guard
Security guard (AndreyPopov / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Sixty-four Maryland nonprofits received a combined $7.7 million in federal homeland security grant funds.

Much of this grant money went to Jewish nonprofits. In the Baltimore area, 34 out of 48 grants went to Jewish organizations, totaling more than $4 million, according to the Baltimore Jewish Council.

These funds were awarded by the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, the state counterpart of FEMA, through the United States Department of Homeland Security 2021 Nonprofit Security Grant Program. The awards are given to organizations that could be targets of terrorist attacks, said Russ Strickland, executive director of MEMA.

“Nonprofit groups are part of the fabric of American life and provide important services during times of need,” Strickland said in a press release. “Unfortunately, we have seen that these groups sometimes are the target of violence, and these grants will help them prevent or minimize the consequences of those attacks.”

According to FEMA’s website, the intent of this grant is for nonprofits to combine their activities with “broader state and local preparedness efforts,” as well as to “ promote coordination and collaboration in emergency preparedness activities among public and private community representatives, as well as state and local government agencies.” A total of $180 million is awarded throughout the country to strengthen security for nonprofits and institutions deemed vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

“We are thankful to Maryland’s federal delegation for their support of this funding to help keep our institutions safe,” BJC Deputy Director Sarah Mersky Miicke said. “This funding will be used by area institutions to install or upgrade security features including cameras, doors, fences and security personal. The BJC regularly provides security assessments that synagogues, schools and other institutions use to apply for these funds, and we help provide information throughout the application process.”

A total of 106 organizations applied for the NSGP grants.

Among the 64 organizations selected were hospitals, Catholic schools, Baptist churches, Jewish organizations and other nonprofits. The Jewish organizations listed as recipients on MEMA’s site include synagogues, schools and more.

Sol Davis, executive director of the Jewish Museum of Maryland, one of the listed organizations, told the JT that he couldn’t comment much on the grant, but he expressed “gratitude for the support that helps us continue to improve the safety of Jewish institutions like the museum.”

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