(The Center Square) — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Maryland Department of Emergency Management are supplying 118 faith-based and nonprofit organizations with $15.9 million to support security measures and protect against hate crimes.
“Keeping Marylanders safe is a responsibility we share, and it’s on all of us to call our hate wherever we see it, and to fight against it together,” said Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller. “This record-breaking grant funding secured through collective partnership demonstrates our shared commitment to building a safer, more inclusive Maryland.”
The federal dollars come through the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, a part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The program’s purpose is to provide funding to nonprofits that are “at high risk of terrorist attack” and to “integrate nonprofit preparedness activities with broader state and local preparedness efforts,” according to FEMA.
It’s one of three grant programs through which FEMA aids state and local governments and nonprofits in anti-terrorism precautions.
The total amount awarded in fiscal year 2023 was $305 million, up about $50 million from the previous fiscal year ($250 million) and about $125 million from fiscal year 2021 ($180 million).
Organizations that have not been awarded NSGP grants before and focus on underserved communities are prioritized in the selection process.
Maryland’s award is broken into three categories by location: the Baltimore urban area, the national capital region and the state allotment.
The Baltimore urban area allotment is set to receive the greatest portion of the funding at approximately $10.5 million, which will be distributed to 77 religious and nonprofit institutions.
Nearly 50 recipients are Jewish synagogues or organizations; Muslim organizations, Christian churches, Hindu temples and others make up the remaining beneficiaries.
“The grants add to a series of administration initiatives to prevent hate crimes, including $6.3 million in previously announced funding to protect against hate crimes and to enhance local police recruitment and retention efforts,” according to a press release from Miller’s office.