Exploring the UASI Nonprofit Security Grant Program
Thursday, December 15, 2011
By Stephen R. Galati, Contributing Writer
When one thinks of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grant programs and the risk of terrorist attacks, the first thought may be that government and public agencies are the primary targets. Although these agencies may hold higher visibility and threat risks, they are certainly not the only viable targets for acts of terrorism. Since the horrific attacks against the United States on September 11th, many nonprofit organizations, such as ones operating religious facilities and places of symbolic value, have become involved with infrastructure-hardening and emergency preparedness activities. The events of the last decade have served as a paradigm change in our collective understanding of national security.
Recognizing the wide landscape of potential terrorism risks, DHS has operated the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) to provide target-hardening funding support to nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of terrorist attack. Target hardening involves the physical fortification or ―hardening‖ of a site or system to make it more difficult to attack and less attractive as a potential target. The greater the hardening, the higher the odds that the site or system will not be attacked or, if attacked, will suffer less damage and fewer casualties. Unfortunately, like other forms of homeland security undertakings, target-hardening and preparedness activities are expensive with costs that may be prohibitive for nonprofits.
The NSGP is designed to counteract these costs by integrating nonprofit hardening and preparedness activities with the much broader state and local preparedness efforts. In fact, DHS has allotted $18,962,000 in grant awards for fiscal year 2011. Applied for through the appropriate State Administrative Agency (SAA), NSGP grant awards can be as much as $75,000 each and have a period of performance of 36 months.
While a robust funding source worth exploring, UASI funds have certain restrictions that grant writers must understand. For example, eligibility for NSGP grant monies require that the nonprofit organization be located within one of the designated UASI-eligible urban areas. Grant writers must also be aware that eligible nonprofit organizations are defined under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and exempt from tax under section 501(a) of such Code. Grant writers need to remain informed on these and other eligibility requirements to reach any level of grant award success.
Where can you start? Grant writers and nonprofit organization leaders can begin exploring the many facets of UASI and NSGP funding through the following information websites. The NSGP is designed to foster and promote coordination and collaboration in emergency preparedness activities among community representatives, state and local government agencies, and Citizen Corps Councils. Grant writers, like nonprofit organizations, are encouraged to participate in their local Citizen Corps Councils. Grant writers who are diligent and remain on the cusp of information will find the greatest success with any upcoming FY2012 NSGP monies.