March 20, 2023
By Nancy B. Greer
President & CEO
Every day, it seems, we hear more about the spread of antisemitism. Hateful graffiti spray-painted onto walls. Threatening posts on social media. Leaflets and banners trafficking in the vilest antisemitic tropes. And just this week, an updated FBI report documenting a nearly 20 percent increase in antisemitic hate crimes in 2021.
It’s an unfortunate reality in today’s world that ensuring the safety of all who attend Jewish services and events must be hard-wired into the day-to-day of Jewish life. Security is fundamental for keeping our community vibrant and thriving.
Facility upgrades are an essential factor in the security equation. One of many services provided by your Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle’s SAFE Washington program is helping Jewish agencies navigate the application process for obtaining federally funded Nonprofit Security Grants.
The 2023 application cycle has opened, and up to $150,000 per site is available for upgrades such as lighting, access controls, cameras, fencing, and even bullet-resistant materials. Our goal is to help Jewish agencies prepare the strongest possible applications. Last year, 16 local agencies filed applications and 11 obtained over $1.7 million in grants for safety essentials. Since 2010, community organizations across our state have received over $6.4 million in grants.
Nationwide, there is more money available for grants this year: $305 million, a 22 percent increase from 2022, thanks in part to Federation advocacy in partnership with the Jewish Federations of North America.
Behind the funding numbers is our commitment to help Jewish organizations to stay secure while they serve as welcoming, inclusive centers for experiencing the beauty of Jewish life.
SAFE Washington is here for the community. With the Nonprofit Security Grant application window open, now is the time to contact SAFE Washington for help in preparing an application and to learn more about the communications, training, and preparedness services that SAFE offers.
One of the timeless values of Judaism is that all Jews are responsible for one another. Helping Jewish organizations stay secure is one way of living out our value of Kehilla/Areivut, taking responsibility for our community and ensuring a bright future for us all.