SAFE Washington: More Important Than Ever

By Nancy B. Greer

President & CEO
Recently, Jewish organizations from around our state took part in a workshop on federal Nonprofit Security Grants. Attendees learned about navigating the complexities of seeking competitive federal grants and ways to prepare the strongest possible application for funds that are urgently needed as we face a surge in antisemitism.

Our team at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle who carry out our SAFE Washington and advocacy programs organized the annual workshop. They brought together state and federal experts to provide guidance that can help Jewish organizations obtain the funding they need for necessary security upgrades like lighting, cameras, and fencing.

In 2021, SAFE Washington helped 14 agencies prepare Nonprofit Security grant applications and seven received grants totaling nearly $872,000. Since 2010, community organizations across the state have obtained over $4.7 million in security funding with SAFE Washington’s assistance.

The grant workshop is just one of the many ways that SAFE Washington helps Jewish organizations integrate security into their day-to-day activities. SAFE Washington was established in 2009, in the aftermath of the 2006 hate crime at Federation offices that took the life of Pamela Waechter z”l and injured five of her colleagues.

The need for SAFE Washington’s services was imperative then and remains so today. Antisemitic incidents—vandalism, harassment, assaults—are at record levels. The horrific crisis in Ukraine has heightened the risk of cyberattacks on Jewish organizations. Constant threats and assaults, such as the vile graffiti across from Jewish Family Service and the hostage crisis at  Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, remind us all too frequently that hate directed at Jews and Jewish institutions are part of our lived experience.

SAFE Washington is here to help Jewish agencies build security into their activities while remaining welcoming, inclusive centers for Jewish life. In addition to helping organizations apply for security grants, SAFE provides real-time communications about potential and real threats, preparedness resources, and a range of training opportunities on timely topics, from cybersecurity to active shooters. Close working relationships with law enforcement are a vital underpinning of SAFE’s effectiveness. All of SAFE’s services are provided to Jewish institutions free of charge, thanks to our many generous donors like you.

The 2022 round for Nonprofit Security Grants is getting underway. Nationwide, $180 million is available, but given the clear need, your Federation and Jewish Federations of North America are strongly advocating for twice as much funding.

If your Jewish organization needs a security upgrade, now is the time to contact SAFE Washington and learn how SAFE can help you prepare a grant application that puts your best foot forward. SAFE stands ready to assist you with your security needs. 

Helping Jewish organizations stay secure is rooted in our value of Kehilla/Areivut, taking responsibility for our community and securing a vibrant—and safe—future for Jewish life.