Ohio to provide security grants to non-profit groups

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — The Ohio State Legislature passed a non-profit security grant program to help non-profit groups at risk of terror attack to secure their facilities.

The grants of up to $100,000 each to upgrade and secure non-profit facilities in Ohio will come from a total of $7.3 in available funds, provided in the legislation passed last week.

The effort to secure the funds came after Ohio Senate President Keith Faber learned from the Ohio Jewish Communities lobby about the vulnerabilities of non-profit agencies,  including schools, synagogues, and community centers, the Ohio Jewish Communities said in a statement.

“Acts of terrorism unfortunately continue to threaten the security of Ohio citizens in what should be places of peace and safety,” Faber said in a statement. “Helping our nonprofit organizations equip themselves to deal with this reality is important. Preparation saves lives.”

Speaker of the Ohio House, Cliff Rosenberger, also praised the grant program.  “We live in uncertain times, and as a state and nation we must always be looking for ways to keep our fellow citizens safe from terror attacks,”  Rosenberger said. “These grants will provide greater security and peace of mind for nonprofits, making it easier for them to continue their tremendous service on behalf of the people of Ohio.”

The new state program is modeled after a federal security grant program for nonprofits. Cleveland, Ohio, area non-profits received some $200,000 from the federal program for the year.

Passage of the state program comes less than a month after a car-ramming and stabbing attack at the Ohio State University in Columbus that injured several students. Last year, two Ohio Jewish day schools were the target of bomb threats and numerous instances of suspicious activity have been logged and investigated at Jewish sites across the state, according to the Ohio Jewish Communities.