Obama budget backs nonprofit security program

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Jewish groups are praising President Obama for proposing to fund a program providing security grants to nonprofit institutions.

The president’s fiscal year 2010 budget includes $15 million for the Urban Area Security Initiative Nonprofit Security Grant Program. The money, distributed in small grants to nonprofit organizations at risk of terrorist attacks, can be used for physical security improvements such as surveillance cameras, gates and bollards, and blast-resistant doors and windows.

Since the program was established by the U.S. Congress in 2005, $65 million has been distributed to nonprofit organizations across the country, including many synagogues and other Jewish institutions. The Congress appropriated another $15 million in fiscal year 2009 that has not yet been distributed.

United Jewish Communities/Jewish Federations of North America, the Orthodox Union, UJA-Federation New York, Agudath Israel and the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York issued a release Monday praising the budget proposal.

 "The program is now an integral part of the nation’s homeland security preparedness planning," the release said. "It integrates nonprofit preparedness activities with broader state and local preparedness efforts."

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