The Nonprofit Security Grant Program: Summary and Tips

Use these tips to fund your project to secure your house of worship, faith-based organization or faith-based school.


The 2020 Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) was just released. This fiscal year, $90 million is available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives.

A total of $50 million is available for urban areas (high density areas listed in NOFO), and $40 million is available for states.

Faith-based, community and private nonprofit (PNP) organizations are eligible for this program supporting security-related projects. While the NSGP focuses on houses of worship, faith-based organizations and community organizations due to past violent incidents involving these populations, nonprofit or faith-based schools are also eligible to apply.

Indiana University Basketball Coach Bobby Knight said, “The key is not the will to win … everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.” Use Bobby Knight’s words to prepare you for this upcoming grant.

If interested in the NSGP, make sure you register for a webinar or watch the archived webinar. Here are more tips from the FEMA webinars:

  • Visit FEMA’s grants website to review applicant requirements.
  • Know who your State Administrative Agency (SAA) is, and apply through them (not FEMA or grants.gov).
  • If outside an urban area, apply for the state NSGP grant (some states don’t have an urban area); state allocations are based on the state population.
  • Avoid unallowable costs. Read the authorized equipment list and frequently asked questions in the NOFO.
  • Applicants must be in a terrorist area or prove how you are at similar risk to other agencies/areas which have had terrorist attacks. Use online maps and other online tools from law enforcement that show actual or potential terrorism activities. Note: a perfunctory internet search for terrorism against religious institutions revealed dozens of news articles. In particular, The Atlantic published an article on the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre. This was the deadliest anti-Semitic attack on U.S. soil.
  • Complete a Vulnerability Assessment that is specific to the building you are applying for. A security expert needs to do this. The vulnerability assessment is the foundation of this application, so connect it to the investments you’re proposing. Photographs and police reports are examples of appropriate evidence; these should be up to date and current.
  • Check out this DHS webpage for helpful information on vulnerability assessments. Email NICC@hq.dhs.gov to find out if they can do a free vulnerability assessment for your nonprofit. Other possible entities that can conduct vulnerability assessments are your local police department, fire department, or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
  • Nonprofits can apply for separate facilities, but applications must be submitted for each facility.
  • Use the provided FY20 scoring worksheet for mock review, which you can find at grants.gov.
  • Research past funding in the FY 2019 NSGP Notice of Funding Opportunity and Supplemental Documents. Do not reinvent the wheel and capitalize on past winners.
  • Use the Application Materials/Investment Justification to whittle away and pare down your needs.
  • Adhere to the Preparedness Grants Manual to guide you through the grants process.
  • Find some helpful resources from FEMA for protecting faith-based organizations.

Use these tips to fund your project and secure your house of worship, faith-based organization or faith-based school. Inventor Thomas Edison opined, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Do not give up; keep trying if not funded with this grant in the past.

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