Montgomery County Awards $900K to 136 Nonprofits for Hate Crime Prevention and Security Upgrades

County Executive Marc Elrich, along with County Council President Andrew Friedson and leaders of local nonprofit organizations at risk of hate crimes, gathered in Rockville on Wednesday to unveil the allocation of $900,000 in grant funding to 136 organizations in Montgomery County.

The funding aims to enhance security measures and deter hate crimes, with the grants being distributed through the county’s Nonprofit Security Grants program, according to a county press release.

The budget proposed by the County Executive for Fiscal Year 2024 (PDF), approved by the County Council last spring, allocated $900,000 specifically for eligible nonprofit organizations affected by or at high risk of hate crimes.

The grants will support various security enhancements such as security personnel, planning, training, exercise measures, and acquisition of new security cameras. The funds are managed by the county’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security Emergency Management (OEMHS).

“Montgomery County remains committed to fostering a safe and inclusive environment for our diverse community, and it is essential that everyone live, work and worship here without fear,” said County Executive Elrich. “Sadly, hatred fueled by dangerous rhetoric and conspiracy theories persists, leading to threats and violence. The grants announced today will provide additional resources to nonprofit organizations at risk of hate crimes to enhance the security of their facilities while safeguarding the well-being of our residents and neighbors. Together, we can and must act to show that our County does not tolerate hatred of any kind.”

In addition to the grant funding, OEMHS and Montgomery County Police are extending support to all organizations indicating a need for security assistance.

“Schools and places of worship should be sanctuaries of peace and acceptance, not fear and violence,” said County Council President Friedson. “While we regret that this program is so needed in these deeply divisive times, I’ve been proud to host the Faith Security Town Hall that laid the groundwork to establish this program in 2020, to expand it to include ethnic groups at higher risk of experiencing hate crimes during COVID-19 and to have worked with colleagues and community partners to expand it in the aftermath of October 7 so we can meet the heightened security needs for our residents and community organizations.”

The county offers tailored classes, assessments, and training for nonprofit organizations vulnerable to hate crimes. OEMHS regularly conducts “Securing Houses of Worship” training for local religious institutions; Montgomery County Police provides training on “Civilian Response to Active Shooters (CRASE)” and extends support with security assessments and planning.

“This grant program is one of the many ways we are working to ensure that everyone in the community is safe and welcome to be who they are, making it clear that hate has no home here in Montgomery County,” said OEMHS director Luke Hodgson. “Together with our partners in the Montgomery County Police Department and the countless organizations in our community, we are committed to fostering safer environments for our local nonprofits who are at risk of hate crimes.”

To qualify for grant funding, facilities had to be located in Montgomery County and identified as nonprofit organizations facing threats or hate crimes, or at significant risk of being targeted due to belonging to frequently targeted groups. All grant recipients must be IRS registered 501(c)3, tax-exempt nonprofit organizations in good standing with the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation, or faith-based organizations meeting the same criteria.

The funds are exclusively designated for security enhancements or new security cameras within the county, allowing organizations with multiple facilities to apply for grants separately for each site.

For additional details regarding upcoming Securing Houses of Worship training events, email OEMHS at [email protected]. To inquire about CRASE training or to seek facility assessment assistance, contact the Montgomery County Police Community Engagement Division at [email protected].

Photo: © mehaniq41 – / Montgomery County graphic

Your Mastodon Instance