Are You Eligible for the Non-Profit Security Grant Program?

What is the Non-Profit Security Grant Program(NSGP)?

In your church, the safety of your staff, your parishioners, and if you have a school, students is always a top of mind concern.   If you haven’t already, you should consider managing access control and implementing security measures for several compelling reasons:

  1. Safety of Worshipers: Your top priority is the safety and security of your congregants and visitors. Access control measures will play a crucial role in preventing unauthorized individuals from entering your church and posing potential threats.  Shootings in Texas and frankly all across America, have changed how people approach their safety while worshiping. 

  2. Protection of Assets: Your church likely holds valuable assets, including religious artifacts, equipment, and donations. By effectively implementing access control, you can safeguard these assets from theft or vandalism. Additionally, with camera installation, you can provide valuable information to law enforcement to hopefully reobtain what may be lost.

  3. Privacy and Confidentiality: Your church often deals with sensitive information about your members, such as personal records, financial data, and prayer requests. Access control will be instrumental in protecting the privacy and confidentiality of this information. Like a business, a church is required to safeguard that client information taking data security measures.
  1. Preventing Vandalism and Graffiti: Unfortunately, houses of worship are sometimes targets for vandalism and graffiti. Access control measures can act as a deterrent, minimizing the risk of such damage.

  2. Managing Events: Your church hosts various events, including weddings, funerals, and community gatherings. It’s crucial to ensure that only authorized individuals are present during these events, which can be achieved through proper access control.

Emergency Preparedness: Consider integrating access control with your emergency response systems. This will enable faster lockdowns or evacuations in case of emergencies, such as an active shooter situation.


Enter Deputy JD Knight, Centennial Police Department

We recently connected with Deputy JD Knight of the Centennial Police Department in Centennial, CO.  We discussed the process of writing a grant application for the Non-Profit Security Grant Program (NSGP).  Deputy Knight has spent his life in the Front Range community and has worked to make the community safer.  Currently his full-time focus is helping Faith Non-Profit Organizations be as secure as possible in the communities they serve. 

Deputy Knight recognizes churches have unique challenges.  They need to balance the desire and mission to be open and inviting to all and be a safe place for all.  Unfortunately, in today’s society that may involve security technology.   Churches often strive to serve the most vulnerable and fringe of society.  This leaves them exposed.  There are smart things churches can do to find balance between inviting and open while still having protections in place for deterrence and security. Some protections include state of the art cameras, access control systems and card readers.  All solutions require a well thought out plan. The NSGP grant is one tool can help with the funding of the security hardware and software.  There are many resources, explained by Deputy Knight that can help with a security plan.   

How do you apply for the Non-Profit Security Grant Program (NSGP)?

The NSGP is a grant offered by the federal government through FEMA.  It is administered and applied for through the state, DHSEM and received by sub-recipients: Non-Profit, Faith-Based Organizations.  Faith-Based Organizations can receive up to $150,000 for security products such as security film for windows, cameras, card reading systems, and access control systems.  Grant also can provide funding for employee CPR training, emergency planning and other security related training. 

It will not pay for weapons, weapon training, self-defense, or anything related to privacy issues.  Tied to the NSGP grant, the state of Colorado has a grant for up to $50,000 for the same security products.   

The grant purpose it to support “target hardening and other physical security enhancements and activities to nonprofit organizations that are a high risk of terrorist attacks.”  Before you say, “that is a bit extreme for our security threats” think again.  I never thought I would get a call from my brother in Utah asking, what was up at Arapahoe High School.  I replied I have no idea.  He quietly said “Oh, turn on the news.”  I happened to be driving down University at the time.  Suddenly a sea of red emergency vehicles was in front of me.  I picked my son up 5 hours later at Summit Church on University.  If all you do is to begin to think about your security needs, this blog has fulfilled its purpose.  Your organization may be determined to be at high risk of terrorist attack due to its mission, ideology, or beliefs.  

The application to apply is simple to fill out and submit, but creating a grant application that is viable, effective, understandable, and demand expert assistance, thoughtful preparation, and time.  If your faith-based church wants to apply for the grant, open April 2024 it should start the process now.   

  • You must have a physical building ready to upgrade before April 2024. 
  • It is a Federally competitive program with two categories of money.  Urban areas (Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, Elber, Gilpin and Jefferson) and all other communities.  

If you have a facility, you should begin with a vulnerability assessment that can identify points of vulnerability.  Perhaps some of the vulnerabilities can be addressed with solutions such as cameras, better doors/window/window film, fences, and access control.  Grant money can be used to purchase these things, but don’t underestimate the results that can come from improving training and planning.  

If your 501c resides in Arapahoe County, Deputy Knight can help you with an assessment.  If not, you can go to your local police department.  There are different types of assessment.  The NSGP offers a Vulnerability-Risk Assessment tool.  Is specifically designed for houses of worship and has language that matches the grant form. This is a great tool for both a self-assessment and for a law enforcement professional.  Other professionals may us another tool not specifically for a house of worship known as a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED Assessment).   It is a more generic tool actually similar to assessment used by businesses.  It may not offer a complete look, based upon the unique needs of faith-based organization.   


 How to develop a Security Strategy for your Faith Based Non Profit

Based upon the results of the vulnerability Risk Assessment you can now develop a project plan.  You should gather input from management, financial staff, and your security team if you have one.  Go ahead and outline a structure to implement the project. 

  1. Assuming you get the grant who would be the project manager, who would oversee budget, and who will work with vendors?  Perhaps this would be a good time to reach out to a vendor that has worked with faith based 501c companies before.  They have the experience to identify gaps that you may not know about.  
  2. Compile a comprehensive list of equipment.  The more the better.  You can prioritize and adjust once you have a full picture.  Verify your equipment is allowable on the authorized List. 

The following are possible project examples.  Security surveillance cameras, access control system, enhanced security doors and windows, blast proof doors/windows, contract security, training, cybersecurity and technology, physical barriers, planning consultants. 

Be thorough and thoughtful.  You cannot change a project after it has been submitted. 

You cannot supplant your agency budget with grant funds.   

At this point you must contact a vendor and get cost estimates for equipment, installation, warranty, training, etc.  One bid is required to submit an application.  An inflation buffer of 5% should be added to cost estimates to account for the fact you are planning for a project to be started 6-12 months in the future.   

Now you are ready to complete the application, Investment Justification form (IJ).  Be concise and succinct but detailed in your word and content selection.  There is a character limitation.  Remember the additional required forms.  As you fill out your mission statement be thoughtful.  Do not just copy and paste the mission statement from your website.  Remember you are looking at the grant from the perspective of preventing a violent terrorist attack.  What is it about your mission the makes you a vulnerable target?  What on your website or in the ideology of your church or staff that could make them a target.    

Finally, meet the required deadline, being aware it will be timestamped.   

Then wait.  Don’t be discouraged if you are denied the first time around. 

If you have completed this grant process and you do not receive a federal grant, you will be eligible to apply for a $50,000 state grant.  It is a competitive grant, and if you have ever written for a grant before, you know it is a scored process, and there is a learning curve.  Don’t be deterred to apply again.  This time you have a head start and more time to thoughtfully craft your application.   

Scoring Summary is below:   

2023 NSGP Application & Scoring Summary Section Points % Description  

In this portion you will provide basic information about your organization, get your unique entity identifier at Sam.gov. and explain why your organization is a likely target for terrorism.  Include a description of your site and previous response to terrorist attacks if applicable, our what you have anticipated.   

  1.  Use your vulnerability report.  Be specific regarding the vulnerabilities of your facilities.  Remember this is the purpose of this grant.  Thoroughly address the impacts on your facility from a potential attack.   
  2.  Lay out your plan.  What are you going to do to make your facility safer?  Anything you want the grant to fund should be mentioned here.  Be thorough and deliberate.  You cannot change it once requested.  It will be limited by what FEMA allows. 
  3. Do not forget the cost of planning and implementing the security plan.  There are some specific requirements regarding Contracted Security Personnel and Management and Administration.    If you have a security company prepare your assessment, they are prohibited from bidding/contraction on the installation project. 
  4. Show not just when but how you will complete your projects.  The period of performance is 2 ½ years.  Reimbursements come quarterly after work has been completed.  Consider things such as holidays, major event, weather, permitting and supply chain issues.   

Be detailed here.  Don’t be afraid to state the obvious.   

This is the exciting part.  Imagine and describe how this funding will help your facility, organization and community.   

These are competitive grants—nationwide.  Your effort may not be reward with a grant, but the process will be very rewarding.  There are things you will learn that you can do and should do to make your facility and in turn the people you serve and your community safer.  Afterall churches are meant to be places of safety and refuge.   


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