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August 24, 2018

Thompson Announces Expansion of Nonprofit Security Grant Program

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, announced that, for the first time, the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) has awarded $10 million in anti-terrorism security grants through its Nonprofit Security Grant Program to institutions outside of jurisdictions funded by the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI).

Ranking Member Thompson has long advocated to make non-profit organizations and religious institutions from anywhere in the country eligible for grant funding, urging FEMA to open its grant program to non-profits in rural areas.  After Jewish Community Centers, synagogues, and religious day schools received a spate of threats last year, however, Ranking Member introduced legislation, the Securing American Non-Profit Organizations Against Terrorism Act of 2017 (H.R. 1486), to help protect religious institutions across the country. Before this, there was a 2015 mass shooting of black parishioners at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Charleston, South Carolina, a 2014 shooting at a Jewish Community Center outside Kansas City, and a 2012 shooting at a Sikh temple in Milwaukee. Although H.R. 1486 has not yet passed the Senate, its success on the House floor sent a clear message that there is bipartisan support to secure non-profit organizations across the country.

Now, non-profits and institutions across the country that are at risk of terrorism can receive the Federal support they need to help stay safe. These funds can be used for security equipment, physical security and cybersecurity training, target hardening, terrorism awareness, or employee training.

Congressman Thompson released the following statement on the grants awarded:

β€œIn recent years, we have seen a disturbing uptick in threats, harassment, and even violence against religious institutions and non-profits across the country.  This is an unprecedented threat fueled by terror and hate.  Those of us in government charged with keeping the homeland secure must do all we can to protect community centers and non-profit organizations that allow Americans to safely congregate, worship, and learn.  I am proud my effort to protect these institutions received wide, bipartisan support.  Non-profits in communities big and small can now access the resources necessary to make their facilities safe and serve the public.” 

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Media contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978