JCRC Welcomes Introduction of Legislation Providing Security Grants for Houses of Worship and Others

Jan 24, 2022 | Article, JCRC

JCRC Welcomes Introduction of Legislation Providing Security Grants for Houses of Worship and Others

Jan 24, 2022

The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), a program of JEWISHcolorado, welcomes the introduction of HB22-1077: Colorado Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP).

The bill establishes a state-level grant program designed to enable houses of worship of any denomination, community gathering spaces, and all nonprofit organizations to complete capital projects that will serve to protect those using their facilities. The bill’s co-prime sponsors are Representatives Iman Jodeh (HD-41) and Dafna Michaelson Jenet (HD-30) and Senators Chris Hansen (SD-31) and Kevin Priola (SD-25).

“Just a few days ago, the Jewish community and our allies anxiously watched the hostage situation at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas,” said JCRC chair Matt Most. “The urgency for creating the Colorado NSGP cannot be overstated, and we so appreciate our dedicated co-prime sponsors for their work to introduce this legislation.”

The JCRC is one of 69 organizations of all faiths calling for the creation of the Colorado Nonprofit Security Grant Program. In addition to the ongoing work of the JCRC, JEWISHcolorado launched the Regional Safety & Security Initiative in 2018 in order to provide safety and security training and site assessments for faith-based and other nonprofit organizations. The Regional Safety & Security Initiative is made possible through a partnership with Rose Community Foundation and SCN, with support from the Anti-Defamation League–Mountain States and the Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation.

“We have been able to bring this bill to our legislators because of the support we’ve received from the Muslim community, the Catholic community, the Asian community, and so many others,” said Joe Dubroff, JEWISHcolorado director of external affairs. “Unfortunately, we all know the same fear—that someone with violent intentions could enter our sacred spaces—and we will work together to ensure that as many Colorado organizations as possible can access this critically important funding.”

The state-level program will serve as a supplement to the federal NSGP, which is adminstered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in cooperation with its state-level counterparts, such as the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM). Applicants who apply to the federal program will automatically be entered into consideration for the state program; funding from the state program will only go to those organizations that are not selected for federal grants.

Jewish Federations nationwide are also advocating strongly for Congress to double the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) to $360 million. A bipartisan group of five senators have sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee requesting an increase in Nonprofit Security Funding. A similar House letter is on its way.