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For Immediate Release: Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich was joined by County Council President Andrew Friedson and leaders of local nonprofit organizations at risk of hate crimes in Rockville today to announce that $900,000 in grant funding has been awarded to 136 County organizations to improve security and deter hate crimes. The funds will come through the County’s Nonprofit Security Grants program.

In spring 2023, the County Council approved the County Executive’s budget with $900,000 to be available in Fiscal Year 2024 for use by eligible nonprofit organizations whose facilities have experienced or are at high risk of experiencing hate crimes.

The grants will help fund security personnel, security planning, training or exercise measures or new security cameras. The funds are administered by the 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 the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) continue to provide support to all organizations who indicate the need for assistance with security.

“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 provides classes, assessments and training specifically designed for nonprofit organizations at risk of hate crimes. OEMHS regularly offers “Securing Houses of Worship” training for local religious facilities. The next Securing Houses of Worship training will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3, in Bethesda. Registration is required and can be completed here. MCPD make trainings available for “Civilian Response to Active Shooters (CRASE),” as well as assistance with security assessments and plans.

For more information on upcoming Securing Houses of Worship trainings, contact OEMHS via email. For information on CRASE trainings or facility assessment assistance, contact the MCPD Community Engagement Division via email.

“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 Luke Hodgson, director of OEMHS. “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, applying facilities were required to be located in Montgomery County and be a nonprofit organization experiencing threats or hate crimes or at significant risk of being the target of a hate crime as representatives of frequently targeted groups.

All grant awardees 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 in good standing. Funds can only be used to provide security support or new security cameras for facilities located within the County. Organizations with more than one facility in the County were permitted to apply for grants separately for each physical location.

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Release ID: 24-122
Media Contact: Jennifer Garfinkel 240-962-1506
Categories: Grants, Public Safety