Pittsburgh, Pa. − March 11, 2020 − Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, Jr. (D-Allegheny) and Representative Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny) today announced the award of more than $500,000 for local organizations to improve safety and security measures to prevent hate crimes.

This program was the joint effort of Senator Costa and Rep. Frankel following meetings with community and faith leaders following the tragic violence in Squirrel Hill in October of 2018.

“In the aftermath of the tragedy in the Squirrel Hill community, Representative Frankel and I knew we had to do everything in our power to prevent this kind of horrific event from striking again. It was an honor to craft this important program together with input from our local leaders in the faith community,” said Senator Costa. “I wish this program weren’t necessary, but I’m proud of the work that got us to $5 million in funding for it statewide, and I’m glad that institutions across the Commonwealth will see improved security. No one should live and worship in fear.”

“As we know only too well, evil can strike at anytime and anywhere, even in those places we consider to be sacred. And as we strive toward a world without hate, we must also not be blind to the difficult realities we face, which is one of the reasons I joined Sen. Costa and others in fighting for this new grant program,” Frankel said. “This investment in security and safety for our religious institutions, regardless of faith, sends a strong message to the diverse communities that make our neighborhoods, cities and state strong – we see you, we hear you and we stand with you. No one should ever have to enter a house of worship with fear in their hearts. Instead, we should always join together in life, light and love.”

The following nonprofit organizations will receive funding:

Organization Amount
Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh $  45,158
The Aleph Institute Inc $  23,385
Locally Grown $  20,000
Yeshivath Achei Tminim of Pittsburgh $119,341
Lubavitch Center $  25,000
Rodef Shalom Congregation $  24,589
Chabad of Carnegie Mellon University, Inc. $  25,000
ACHIEVA $  24,419
Pittsburgh Kollel Beth Yitzhok $  25,000
Community Day School $  74,584
Carnegie Library of Homestead $  71,593
First Methodist Church of PGH $  17,500
The Rector, Wardens and Vestrymen of Calvary Protestant Episcopal Church $  25,000
Congregation Dor Hadash $  15,100
TOTAL: $  535,669


The funding comes from Act 83 of 2019, which established a new program at the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD).  Act 83 directs PCCD to administer grants to Pennsylvania-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations who principally serve individuals, groups or institutions that are included within a bias motivation category for single bias hate crime incidents as identified by the FBI’s 2017 Hate Crime Statistics publication.  The categories include race/ethnicity/ancestry; religion; sexual orientation; disability; gender; and gender identity.

Applicants were eligible for security enhancements designed to protect the safety and security of the users of a facility located in the Commonwealth that is owned or operated by the nonprofit organization.

In January of this year, PCCD released a $5 million solicitation for the grant program. 805 total applications requesting approximately $27 million were submitted and reviewed.