CHERRY HILL, NJ (August 6, 2020)-- – U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01) today announced that nine local nonprofits will each receive federal grants for a total of $823,000 from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the Fiscal Year 2020 Preparedness Grant. The grants allocated by the DHS assist states, local areas, tribal, territorial governments, nonprofit agencies and the private sector with their preparedness efforts.
“Nonprofits – including houses of worship – need our help now, more than ever, to ensure their facilities are secure and attendees are safe,” said Congressman Norcross. “It’s a sad fact that we are experiencing a rise in domestic terror attacks and threats of violence by extremists of all ideologies, and it’s a fact that we cannot ignore. We are a nation of immigrants with a Constitution that protects religious freedoms, and these grants will help ensure the members of our South Jersey communities are safe and secure. In this country – and in SJ – diversity is our strength, and compassion is our value.”
The following local nonprofits will each receive a grant:
- Chabad of Camden County
- Congregation Beth El
- Congregation Sons of Israel (SOI)
- The Community Synagogue of Cherry Hill Inc DBA Torah Links of South Jersey
- Jewish Community Properties (JCP) on behalf of the Federation of Southern New Jersey
- The Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey
- Masjid Freehaven, Inc.
- Temple Lutheran Church
- Trinity Presbyterian Church
“We are so grateful to be recipients of these awards,” said Jen Weiss, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey and JCP. “The safety and security of our community is paramount to all we do. Thank you to Congressman Norcross and his office for their work on the Federal Nonprofit Security Grant initiative and for providing us the opportunity to strengthen our infrastructure and facilities to provide for the safety and security of all.”
“Upon receiving notification of being awarded a preparedness grant, we are immensely grateful to the Department of Homeland Security for recognizing the increasing dangers that synagogues, and other houses of worship face today,” said Rabbi Mengel of Chabad of Camden County. “Chabad of Camden County and our community at large is ever so thankful to Congressman Donald Norcross and his team for proposing the necessary action to provide the funding our facilities so badly need to increase local safety and security.”
"Congregation Beth El is known for our commitment to the greater community. Securing our facilities against increased threats, allows us to continue to contribute our best efforts to helping those who need it the most, especially during this pandemic; children, families in distress and the elderly,” said Josh Laster, Executive Director of Congregation Beth El. “This award, and our partnership with the Voorhees Township Police Department and with Doron Horowitz, the Regional Security Advisor for the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey, will go a long way to providing the security we must provide to all that are a part of Beth El. We are appreciative that Congressman Norcross and other elected officials are advocating for this funding to religious organizations."
“Congressman Donald Norcross and his staff were instrumental in helping us to receive a Department of Homeland Security preparedness grant,” said Donna Moskowitz, Sons of Israel President. “In these tumultuous times, target hardening is a necessity, but due to budgetary constraints, not always feasible. With this bill and his assistance, we will be able to help keep our members safe.”
“Temple Lutheran Church is thrilled to acknowledge that our grant application for security upgrades was approved by the Department of Homeland Security,” said Matt McDevitt, President of Temple Lutheran Church. “Temple will be using these funds for new alarm systems, a camera system, an access control system and upgraded perimeter lighting.”
“The violence that has violated houses of prayer—synagogues, churches and mosques—touches all faith communities,” said Rev. Dr. Gregory C. Faulkner, Ph.D., Senior Pastor/Head of Staff at Trinity Presbyterian Church. “While we abhor this new reality, we must also prepare. We are deeply grateful to have been awarded a Nonprofit Security Grant from the NJOHSP. We will use the grant funds to improve our preparedness so we can safely continue our ministries of worship and local mission.”
This is a result of a larger effort by the Department of Homeland Security to allocate funds for preparedness grants for local and state level organizations, particularly within the faith-based community.
Earlier this year, Norcross joined religious leaders, law enforcement specialists and local elected officials to announce the Nonprofit Security Expansion Act – a bill that would increase grant funding for nonprofit organizations at risk of terrorist attacks, such as synagogues, churches and other vulnerable community centers. In February, Norcross led the entire New Jersey Congressional Delegation in urging the Acting Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Peter Gaynor to more actively oversee the distribution of Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) funding, rather than abdicating that responsibility to state agencies. The letter called on FEMA to ensure South Jersey communities are equitably included.