In an effort to obtain additional funding to secure Jewish institutions, Agudath Israel of California recently arranged a stakeholder meeting with the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CAL-OES). The meeting was arranged by Agudath Israel of California and was attended by its chairman Dr. Irving Lebovics, government officials, and a Sacramento lobbyist representing the Orthodox Union among others.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss how Jewish community institutions can better access the California State Nonprofit Security Grant Program (CSNSGP). Originally created in 2015, the program has been capped at $2 million. However, with $6 million in annual applications, more than two thirds of all applicants are denied funding each year.

The objective of the state program is to provide financial support for target hardening and physical security enhancements to nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of terrorist attack. The program also seeks to integrate nonprofit preparedness with broader state and local preparedness efforts.

Agudath Israel played a leading role in successfully lobbying the Legislature and governor to continue funding the security grants for the current budget year, and over the last few months, Agudath Israel has engaged with CAL-OES in an effort to help Jewish institutions better access the funds.

The purpose of the meeting was to better understand the management and evaluation process of the program so that Agudath Israel can then help community institutions submit the most competitive applications possible. Additionally, the group discussed how the state program interacts with the federal Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP). Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the participants underscored the need to ensure that K-12 educational institutions were able to receive grants in future rounds of funding.

“While Agudath Israel of California commends the Legislature and Governor Brown for their continued financial support of the program,” said Dr. Lebovics, “more needs to be done to protect our children from those who wish to do them harm”

Agudath Israel of California will continue to work with CAL-OES and members of the Legislative Jewish Caucus to expand the existing state program and obtain additional funding to protect community institutions, especially schools.