With historic allocations of $60 million for federal nonprofit security grants, $10 million of which are slated for Upstate New York yeshivos, shuls and camps for the first time ever, Agudath Israel of America’s Yeshiva Services division held an informative workshop/webinar to guide mosdos through the complex process of prequalifying for funding through the state’s Grants Gateway portal. Program guidelines for the security grants are expected to be announced shortly, making it essential for institutions to start the several weeks-long pre-qualifications process well in advance of the rollout.
A total of 86 yeshivos, shuls and camps across the state took advantage of the workshop, with some participants attending in person at the Yeshiva of Spring Valley boy’s building in Monsey and others taking part online. A livestreamed webinar customized for yeshivos and other mosdos presented by Bradley McMillian of the New York State Grants Reform Office gave participants step by step instructions in filling out the necessary paperwork, with additional on-site guidance offered by David Pollock, associate executive director and director of public policy and Jewish security at the Jewish Community Relations Council. Those in attendance at Yeshiva of Spring Valley had the opportunity to complete their online paperwork on the spot, with additional assistance provided by Mrs. Rivkie Feiner and her staff at Universal Communications Network, professional consultants who provide grant writing services.
“While guidelines have not yet been released, qualifying schools can compete for up to $75,000 in grants to pay for security hardware upgrades, said Mrs. Deborah Zachai, director of education affairs at the Agudah. While many yeshivos in New York City have become accustomed to the qualifications process, the Grants Gateway’s detailed applications are a new experience for many religious institutions in Monsey and upstate areas.
“What we have found is that this is most daunting element of applying for a grant,” explained Mr. Pollock. “We want to make sure that everyone has access to this grant so we took the additional step of coming out to the community to help them with their applications.”
Rabbi Yaakov Oppen, executive director of Monsey’s Yeshiva Bais Hachinuch, described the workshop as “very informative.” “Security is something that is important to everyone and we all have to always be as vigilant as we can.”
“We hope to follow up with additional workshops for Monsey and upstate mosdos when the program guidelines are rolled out, said Mrs. Zachai. “For as long as the program has been in existence, yeshivos and other mosdos in Rockland County and upstate have been excluded from these security grants. We are very excited to be able to bring this close to home so that they can take advantage of the opportunity to promote greater security.”