PITTSBURGH, April 14, 2022 – State Rep. Dan Frankel and Sen. Jay Costa today announced the awarding of more than $500,000 in state safety and security grants to a dozen local religious nonprofits, even as they continue their fight to strengthen Pennsylvania’s anti-hate crime laws, expand civil rights and protect at-risk groups through public police.
“This community knows all too well the violence and devastation of hate crimes, and it’s a top priority of mine in the legislature to prevent those crimes,” said Sen. Costa. “I will continue to advocate for the funds to protect our local facilities that could become the next target. While I’m happy to announce today’s grants with Representative Frankel, I would be remiss if I did not also mention that we have introduced legislation that would empower law enforcement with additional tools to track hate groups and prevent violence. We await hearings in the state legislature on those bills.”
Across Allegheny County, more than 20 religious nonprofits were awarded grants totaling more than $1.1 million. The grants were made possible by a bipartisan agreement to extend Act 83 of 2019, legislation championed by both lawmakers in the wake of the Squirrel Hill synagogue attack in 2018, using funding from the American Rescue Plan. This is the third year grants from the program have been disbursed.
“Our houses of faith are integral to a vibrant, diverse and loving Pittsburgh community. With this funding, the state of Pennsylvania acknowledges both the vital role that these organizations play and the dangers of today’s world,” Frankel said. “These places are the centers of their communities, places of peace, of hope, of friendship. No one should ever have to be afraid to step through their doors.”
Grant recipients can use the funds for security enhancements designed to protect the safety of the users of the facility that is owned and operated by the nonprofit organization. These include safety and security planning, purchase of security equipment, safety and security training, and other safety-related projects.
Priority for funding was given to organizations that indicated their organization and/or membership was the victim of a hate crime, that received credible hate-crime threats, or that serves a population susceptible to hate crimes, which includes people of certain race/ethnicity/ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender and gender identity.
Grantees locally included
Chabad of Carnegie Mellon University, Inc.
Jewish Residential Services, Inc.
Chabad of Squirrel Hill Inc.
Yeshivath Achei Tmimim of Pittsburgh.
Congregation Dor Hadash.
Hillel Jewish University Center.
Chabad Young Professionals Inc.
First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh.
Rodef Shalom Congregation.