Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Nonprofit Security Grant Program 2012 announced

On February 17th, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released its guidance for a number of preparedness grant programs, including the Nonprofit Security Grant Program.

Program Overview and Priorities
The FY 2012 NSGP provides $10,000,000 in funding support for target hardening and other physical security enhancements and activities to nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of terrorist attack and located within one of the specific UASI-eligible Urban Areas. While this funding is provided specifically to high-risk nonprofit organizations under The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012, Division D (Public Law 112-74), the program seeks to integrate nonprofit preparedness activities with broader State and local preparedness efforts. It is also designed to promote coordination and collaboration in emergency preparedness activities among public and private community representatives, as well as State and local government agencies.

JCRC comments: Congress cut the allocations of many DHS grant programs this year and the NSGP was cut from $19 million to $10 million (i.e., below the average cut). That translates to approximately 150 successful grantees nationwide. New York generally receives between 25-30% of the grants. New York City, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties are in a UASI-eligible Urban Area; as is Newark, NJ.

In FY 2012, the total amount of funds distributed under this grant program will be $10,000,000. Each nonprofit organization must apply through their SAA (in New York, the New York Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services [DHSES])for up to a $75,000 grant award. The FY 2012 NSGP funds will be allocated to organizations characterized as “Section 501(c)(3)” organizations under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (26 U.S.C.) and deemed at high risk by the Secretary of DHS. Such nonprofit organizations must be located within one of the designated FY 2012 UASI-eligible Urban Areas.

JCRC comments: The maximum grant amount and the geographic eligibility remain the same as last year. Organizations not having received prior years’ NSGP funding will receive a bonus point during scoring.

Approximate timing
DHSES has not yet determined the exact dates. Their guidance is likely to be released during the first week of March and be due mid-April. Start now, there is no reason to wait.

What should you be doing now?
The JCRC is in the process of updating our guidance materials based on the new grant materials at www.jcrcny.org/securitygrants, but the changes seem to be minor. The most important components continue to be:
  • "Findings from previously conducted risk assessments including threat or vulnerability"; and
  • "Identification and substantiation (e.g., police reports or insurance claims) of prior threats or attacks against the nonprofit organization or closely related organizations (within or outside the U.S.) by a terrorist organization, network, or cell."
Make sure that your vulnerability assessment is up to date. Get more information about vulnerability assessments from www.jcrcny.org/securitygrants.

We will schedule trainings and webinars. For further information contact David Pollock here. and the Jewish Federations of North America at: www.jewishfederations.org/homelandsecurity.

The links at www.jcrcny.org/securitygrants are customized for the 2011 grant, but there seem to be only minor changes this year. Check back often for updates.

Kudos to the movers and shakers. The fact that there is a FY2012 program is due to the ongoing work and incredible professionalism of a coalition, led by The Jewish Federations of North America/JFNA (with JCRC and UJA-Federation playing active roles) and its Senior Director, Legislative Affairs, Rob Goldberg. The JFNA Washington Office, directed by William Daroff, is the lynchpin in this process and deserves our collective thanks.

We owe a special debt of gratitude to those dedicated public servants who actually administer the grants and answer our questions, especially Shelley Wahrlich, Steve Tierney and Valerie Bloomer. This program could not be successful without their dedication, patience and expertise.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mitchell Silber: The Iranian Threat to New York City

In The Wall Street Journal, Mitchell Silber, director of intelligence analysis for the NYPD, writes that as the conflict with Iran over its nuclear program heats up, New York City—with its large Jewish population—becomes an increasingly attractive target.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Jewish Week articles re Jewish security

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Worrying about Iran

For years, intelligence sources have concluded that a confrontation over Iran's nuclear program could have spillback here in New York City. The 1994 bombing of the AMIA building in Buenos Aires shows that Iranian intelligence operatives and Hezbollah terrorists have no compunctions about killing Jews. Last summer's interrupted plot to kill the Saudi Ambassador in Washington, DC indicates that Iran's Revolutionary Guards are willing to commission terrorist acts on U.S. soil. Iran's leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei threatened the state of Israel during a weekly sermon in Tehran on Friday. "We have intervened in anti-Israel matters, and it brought victory in the 33-day war by Hezbollah against Israel in 2006, and in the 22-day war...From now on, in any place, if any nation or any group confronts the Zionist regime, we will endorse and we will help...[Israel is a] cancerous tumor that should be cut and will be cut."

While there is no specific threat against the New York Jewish community, the NYPD increased its coverage of Israeli and high-profile Jewish targets on Friday, deploying its Atlas and Sampson units. Consider the following recommendations:

  1. The JCRC recommends that Jewish groups should review their security operations, paying particular attention to access control and detecting hostile surveillance. For more tips, see the JCRC Security Resources page at: www.jcrcny.org/securityresources. Remember, if you see something, say something. Call 1-877-NYCSAFE.
  2. While the details are currently being negotiated, it is likely that there will be a Nonprofit Security Grant Program for the coming year. The DHS guidance should be released on or about February 23rd. Applicants may not have much time to apply. Therefore review the grant requirements from last year at www.jcrcny.org/securitygrants. The most important recommendation is to update your vulnerability assessment. Learn about vulnerability assessments here.