Federation Urges Jewish Synagogues and Agencies to Apply for Security Grants

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh today sent an urgent call for Pittsburgh-area Jewish agencies and synagogues to apply for Pennsylvania security grant dollars.

The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) announced on September 30 that it has opened solicitation for the fiscal year 2022-2023 Fall Nonprofit Security Grant Fund Program, which offers rewards ranging from $5,000 to $150,000 (a match is required for awards over $25,001) to nonprofit organizations at risk of “single bias hate crime incidents” as identified by the FBI’s Hate Crime Statistics publication. A single bias hate crime is a hate crime aimed at one specific group of people.

The period to submit a request for funding is open until October 31, at 11:45 PM. The forms can be found on PCCD’s website.

From 2020 to 2022, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh has assisted local synagogues and nonprofit organizations in getting 46 state grants totaling $2,530,078 and 13 federal grants totaling $1,395,743. This has resulted in considerable upgrades to security and training for active threat scenarios following the recent surge in attacks and antisemitism.

The PCCD nonprofit security grant program started in November 2019 and has a projected goal of $5 million a year over five years of funding. Its purpose was to fund security enhancements to nonprofits who are targets of bias crimes. Allowable expenses include safety and security planning, equipment, security-related technology, training, upgrades to existing structures and more.

“We have worked hard in the Jewish community to guide and encourage others to apply for these essential security funds. We learned, out of necessity, how important physical security is, and we readily share that knowledge and expertise with other faith-based communities. With the help of two grant writing consultants, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh has been able to maximize the benefits provided by these grants, and we want our other faith-based and community partners to be able to do the same.”

Shawn Brokos, the Federation’s director of Jewish community security.

Funding decisions are the result of a year-long process that engages volunteers and professionals with diverse expertise, backgrounds and affiliations. In 2022, 13 state grants have brought $829,963 to the community.  The most recent PCCD awardee list includes:

  • $25,000 awarded to Beth Hamedrash Hagodol-Beth Jacob Congregation
  • $150,000 awarded to Chabad Lubavitch of South Hills, Inc.
  • $25,000 awarded to Chabad of Carnegie Mellon University, Inc.
  • $150,000 awarded to Chabad of Squirrel Hill Inc.
  • $25,000 awarded to Chabad Young Professionals Inc.
  • $14,000 awarded to Congregation Dor Hadash
  • $24,943 awarded to Hillel Jewish University Center
  • $25,000 awarded to Jewish Residential Services, Inc.
  • $25,000 awarded to Lubavitch Center
  • $150,000 awarded to Rodef Shalom Congregation
  • $41,000 awarded to Temple Sinai
  • $25,000 awarded to Tzohar Seminary
  • $829,963 awarded to Yeshivath Achei Tmimim of Pittsburgh
  • $150,000 awarded to Temple Shalom in Wheeling

“This grant provides our organization a mechanism to obtain these vital funds that otherwise they would not have access to,” said Jeffrey H. Finkelstein, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. “We have been one of the strongest advocates for these funds, and the need is great.”

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