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Wolf admin. awards $3.9M in security grants to organizations that could be targeted by hate crimes

Keith Srakocic

The Wolf administration is giving $3.9 million to 93 nonprofits, community and religious organizations it says can be targeted by hate crimes.

Ninety-three groups in 25 counties received grants. They serve various denominations, as well as refugees and members of the LGBTQ community.

Chabad Lubavitch of Berks County, a religious center and synagogue in Reading, received $150,000.

Rabbi Yosif Lipsker says the money will be used to buy better security cameras and install larger fencing.

“It creates an environment of people feeling like we’re being looked after, and I think that that’s a very, very important message. I think it also sends a message to people that are looking to do things that are harmful,” Lipsker said.

Church World Service, which resettles recently arrived refugees in Lancaster County, received $97,000 dollars.

“Hate crimes against immigrants or those perceived to be immigrants have increased over the last five years,” said Rachel Helwig, Development and Communications Manager at Church World Service. “Many of the people we resettle in Lancaster have experienced trauma and violence in their home country and it is crucial to our mission to provide a sense of security for them and our staff.”

In Dauphin County, Planned Parenthood Keystone received $25,000. Samantha Bobila, director of communications for the health provider, said they noticed a rise in protesters showing up in front of clinics following the overturn of Roe v. Wade in late June.

The money is issued through the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which was created as a response to the Tree of Life shooting in October 2018, in which 11 people were killed. Organizations can apply to receive between $5,000 and $150,000 to fund training, threat assessments, building upgrades and the purchase of security equipment.

The administration issues grants to programs that serve people, groups or institutions that fall undercategories identified by the FBI as motivators for bias-related incidents and offenses. These categories include race, gender, gender identity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and ethnicity. According to the FBI, there were 172 hate crimes in 2021–the highest number since 2006.

“While it’s a shame this has been necessary, I’m proud to have secured nearly $20 million over the past three years to protect Pennsylvania’s diverse and vulnerable communities from hate-driven violence,” said Governor Tom Wolf.

Allegheny County organizations receiving grants include:

  • Adat Shalom B'nai israel/Beth Jacob Inc: $25,000
  • Ahavath Achim Congregation: $20,000
  • Chabad House on Campus, Inc.: $25,000
  • Chabad of Squirrel Hill: $150,000
  • Christ Temple Church of Pittsburgh: $10,000
  • Community Day School: $25,000
  • Eden Christian Academy: $9,476
  • Family Guidance: $25,000
  • Jewish Family & Children’s Service doing business as Jewish Family and Community Services: $24,683
  • Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh: $67,820
  • Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation: $10,000
  • St. Philip's Church: $25,000
  • Temple Emanuel of South Hills: $42,481
  • The Friendship Circle of Pittsburgh, Inc.: $150,000
  • The Jewish Spark: $75,000
  • Tzohar Arts: $25,000
  • Universal Education Foundation: $25,000
  • Yeshivath Achei Tmimim of Pittsburgh: $25,000