State Sen. Scott Wiener speaks at Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco on July 29, 2021. (Photo/Gabriel Greschler)
State Sen. Scott Wiener speaks at Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco on July 29, 2021. (Photo/Gabriel Greschler)

Bay Area Jewish orgs get $4.2M from state’s ‘target hardening’ grants

California announced Tuesday the full list of recipients of its largest-ever dispersal of funds via the State Nonprofit Security Grant Program, totaling $47.5 million. More than $4.2 million went to Bay Area Jewish organizations. 

Administered by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, the program awards up to $200,000 to nonprofit organizations deemed vulnerable to hate-motivated violence to purchase “target hardening” resources, such as reinforced doors, shatter-proof glass, window film and security guards, according to OES.

Twenty-five Bay Area Jewish institutions received total funding of over $4.2 million, according to the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation, which assisted 16 of the grant applicants via its Community Security Program. Those 16 organizations accounted for nearly $2.5 million of total Bay Area grants, the Federation announced.

Rabbi Perry Tirschwell of South Peninsula Hebrew Day School thanked the Federation in a statement, saying the school would be putting up an “8-foot-tall iron fence” and “motorized driving gates” with the help of its $165,000 grant.

Funding for the NSGP has been a priority of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, a consortium of Jewish lawmakers and allies in Sacramento; the caucus lists the NSGP in its annual “Tikkun Olam Bill Package.” In 2020, the NSGP was not funded at all due to a budget deficit caused by the pandemic.

From 2015 to 2019, the program paid out only $4.5 million total throughout the state. But funding increased significantly after the 2019 Chabad of Poway attack, when Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he would allocate some $15 million to the program, citing not only the attack on the Southern California synagogue but an increase in hate crimes in California.

“We all must call out hate — against any and all communities — and act to defend those targeted for their religious beliefs, who they love or how they identify,” Newsom said at the time.

The program also includes funding for churches, mosques, LGBTQ centers and Planned Parenthood offices.

The Jewish Caucus celebrated the announcement of grant recipients in a statement, highlighting its own efforts advocating for the largest payout in the program’s history. The caucus is led by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel of Woodland Hills and Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco.

“The Jewish Caucus is proud to have secured nearly $50 million in last year’s state budget to help protect communities targeted by hate-motivated violence,” the statement read. “The recent hostage situation at Congregation Beth Israel was a sad and shameful example of the very real threats facing our community and a further reminder of how security training and enhancements can mean the difference between life and death.”  

A full list of the 290 grant recipients can be found on the OES website.

Gabe Stutman
Gabe Stutman

Gabe Stutman is the news editor of J. Follow him on Twitter @jnewsgabe.