Enhancing Church Security: How a $150,000 Grant Can Help

by | Administration, CFX Community, Security

Last week, a client we mentored through the Non-Profit Security Grant (NSGP) process received a $125,000 award from their State Administrative Agency (SAA) for security improvements. Can you visualize the heightened safety and peace of mind this could bring to your church community? Let’s delve into the essentials of the NSGP and why it’s the opportune moment for you to consider applying at your church or non-profit. 

What is the Non-Profit Security Grant Program (NSGP)?

Established in 2005 by FEMA, the NSGP aids 501c3 Non-Profits with substantial grant money for physical security improvements. Initially targeting potential terrorist threats, the program’s scope has evolved to address serious crimes, including mass shootings and active violence, acknowledging that modern churches, often comprising preschools, mass gatherings, and rehabilitation programs, are high-risk venues.

Qualifying non-profits at high risk of serious crimes can request up to $150,000 per location for security enhancements (capped at $450,000). However, it operates on a reimbursement basis, meaning expenses are recouped post-purchase. Also, “supplanting” – replacing things such as like-for-like security measures – isn’t allowed. But, extending existing security measures, such as adding more cameras for improved coverage, is permissible.

Why Apply Now?

Critical to the NSGP application is a recent (within three years) security risk assessment, this document outlines your vulnerabilities and justifying the grant request. It can be self-completed, completed professional, or via a basic crime prevention survey completed by your local police. Given that applicants had a 45% success rate in 2021, a comprehensive approach is advised to provide you the best opportunity for success. Utilizing the NSGP grant funds can cater to a broad range of security enhancements that include but are not limited to: 

  • Physical Improvements: Cameras, access systems, bullet-resistant glass, alarms, and more.
  • Planning & Exercises: Emergency plans, future risk assessments, and evacuation strategies.
  • Training Modules: Active shooter prevention, threat detection, and both physical and cyber security.  

Application Timelines

This federal grant is administered state-wide, with each US state having its own way to apply and different pool of funding available. Typically, information is disseminated by the State Administrative Agency (SAA) around November-December each year. By January, most states will have their applications open, with internal deadlines set for your non-profit by around April/May. Every state has a designated SAA overseeing the NSGP and so building a rapport with them is critical for insights and guidance during application. They can also connect you with supplementary resources. You can identify your SAA here.

Final Thought

Undoubtedly, safeguarding HIS sanctuary is one of your highest priorities. The NSGP offers a realistic opportunity to initiate or elevate your church’s security measures. As the application window is about to reopen, ponder over the potential enhancements a grant could provide your church. Remember, the initial step towards this empowerment is completing a security risk assessment of your premises, making you eligible to apply.

Simon Osamoh is one of the country’s leading experts in securing houses of worship. He is a British American and founder of Kingswood Security Consulting and the Worship Security Academy. Simon spent 14 years as a Detective in England working serious and organized crime. He moved to the United States to Head Counter Terrorism at Mall of America, Minnesota. Simon is a Christian and has spent over two decades helping non-profits stay safe and secure. He is the author of two bestselling books 10 Powerful Strategies for Conflict De-escalation and Securing Church Operations. He is the host of the Church Security Made Simple Podcast and a member of the Worship Facility Editorial Advisory Board and has served Westwood Community Church as Security Advisor since 2014. 

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