Enhancing the security of local Jewish institutions long has been a critical role of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago. In the wake of increasing vandalism and threats against Jewish communal institutions, a newly launched JUF Security Grant Program has just issued a Request for Proposals.
According to FBI reports, Jews and Jewish institutions are the single largest targets for religion-based groups hate crimes in the United States.
Through the Security Grant Program, JUF will award matching grants for Jewish institutions in the Chicago area to support new or increased security operations and new or expanded capital security projects.
JUF will award one-year grants of up to $50,000 per facility toward site-specific projects. Applicant organizations will be required to match some percentage of the grant amount, with a variety of factors determining the proportion of the match.
Details of the program's priorities and application process have been distributed to eligible 501(c)(3) nonprofit religious and secular organizations. Proposals may include, but are not limited to, staff training, hiring security personnel, or capital projects such as access control systems.
Many of the Jewish organizations expected to submit proposals for the Security Grant Program attended a JUF Security Summit in March. Drawing more than 180 participants from over 70 organizations, the Summit featured presentations from FBI, Department of Homeland Security, Chicago Police and JUF staff that covered a wide range of security issues and JUF services. Participating organizations completed a detailed security survey, which helped inform the design of the JUF Security Grant Program and dissemination of the RFP.
In addition to the Security Grant Program, JUF continues to provide, as it has for years, a wide range of security-related services in collaboration with Jewish institutions throughout the community. Together with partner agencies, JUF invests significantly in meeting ongoing security training and other needs for JCCs, schools, and other agencies and facilities, and helps secure millions in federal and state grants to make security improvements. JUF also maintains seamless cooperation with every level of law enforcement.