Governor Tom Wolf has signed Act 83 of 2019 into law.  This Act authorizes $5 million in security grants for non-profit communal facilities (including synagogues, mosques, churches, YMCAs, JCCs, JFS, senior centers, etc.).

Highlights of the bill include the following:

  • $5 million for this fiscal year, which ends June of 2020;
  • Future money will be part of the budget process, but we will need to lobby for it in the next 4 budget cycles (We can get more money or maintain the $5 million);
  • Each individual non-profit community or communal facility can apply for the grant in the following manner:
    • Grants up to $25,000 (with a minimum of $5,000) will be made outright, without matching funds;
    • Grants above that threshold, up to $75,000, will require a 33% match
      • For example, with $25,000 in fundraising, you can get $75,000 from the state for a total of $100,000;
    • Grants above the $75,000 threshold, up to $150,000 will require a 50% match
      • For example, with $150,000 in fundraising, you can get $150,000 from the state, for a total of $300,000


“The legislation resulted from a bi-partisan effort by the Pennsylvania legislature and the enthusiastic support of Governor Wolf,” said Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition Chairman Marc Zucker.   “This is the culmination of a year-long negotiation, spearheaded by leadership committed to protect our community centers, spiritual homes and other communal facilities throughout the Commonwealth. The Jewish Federations across Pennsylvania are so grateful for the governmental commitment to the safety and security of all citizens embodied in this legislation.”

“Last year’s attack on the Tree of Life, and this year’s attack in Poway, California and threats against a synagogue in Colorado are among the more prominent examples of a growing threat of hate crimes faced by institutions across the Commonwealth.  This legislation acknowledges that reality and offers concrete assistance to address it,“ Zucker continued. “We are hopeful that the allocation of these resources will add a measure of comfort to those institutions and are grateful to the governor and the General Assembly for the visionary leadership that led to this historic achievement.”