How to Sign Up for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program

Many churches are rethinking their safety and security plans in light of recent attacks on houses of worship across the country. Now thanks to a new bill signed by President Trump during this year’s Worship Summit Live, the government is making funds available for security enhancements, including fencing, entry reinforcement, and security cameras. H.R. 2476, the Securing American Organizations Against Terrorism Act of 2019, is a significant expansion of the Nonprofit Security Grants Program and received strong bipartisan support in both the U.S. House and Senate. 

In remarks before signing the bill, President Trump said that “in the face of attacks on synagogues, mosques, and churches in our community — something that is just so horrible — we must work together to reject the monstrous evils of anti-Semitism and anti-religious bigotry.”

What we know:

  1. President Donald J. Trump signs H.R. 2476 the Securing American Nonprofit Organizations Against Terrorism Act of 2019 during the WorshipSummit.Live
  2. Looking at 2019’s program (only $60M), it is security specific. It is also required to be applied for by a (SAA) state administrative agency on behalf of the NonProfit, not by tHe NP themselves. I am assuming that 2020 will be similar but for more $$$ but I do not see it posted by FEMA for 2020 yet. The FAQs for 2019 may be helpful.

Three hundred seventy-five million dollars will be made available in grants up to $100,000. Application details have yet to be released, but the process is expected to be similar to the previous program in the fiscal year 2019. The guidelines required that non-profit organizations meet the description of a non-profit under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and be tax-exempt. It appears that the new guidelines will make it easier for houses of worship to apply and receive funds directly. Previous requirements also mandated that non-profits demonstrated a high risk of attack. Risk can be substantiated by describing previous security incidents or threats at the facility or referencing incidents that have impacted organizations with a similar mission, belief, or ideology.

This bill is partially a response to the increased violent incidents in synagogues and Christian houses of worship. These include recent attacks on synagogues in New York, New Jersey, and two synagogue shootings in Poway, California. Christian houses of worship have also seen an increase in violence, including the 2017 massacre at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, where 26 people lost their lives. More recently, a church’s security plan saved many lives when a shooter entered a worship service in White Settlement, Texas, and began shooting. Two people were killed, but the head of the congregation’s volunteer security team quickly stopped by the shooter.

Interested churches should monitor for the release of the forthcoming application. Applicants can also learn more and prepare to apply but studying the FEMA Grant Manual

While applications are not yet open, now is the time for churches to begin preparing to meet any required deadlines in the application process. Don’t miss the chance for your church to receive grants of up to $100,000.