Harrisburg – March 11, 2020 – The Gemilias Chesed Synagogue in White Oak has been awarded a $20,800 state grant to bolster security at the facility, state Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) said today. 

“The grant will enable the synagogue to improve security and better protect the congregation,” Brewster said.  “These grants will be an invaluable tool to aid local churches, synagogues and other non-profit facilities.”

The grant is being made available through the Non-Profit Security Grant Program.  The program was developed in the aftermath of the horrific Tree of Life synagogue attack in Pittsburgh in 2018. 

Following the tragic assault at Tree of Life — which resulted in the loss of 11 lives – efforts were made to address security concerns for religious, social and other non-profit organizations.  As a result, Act 83 was passed by the General Assembly creating the non-profit grant program. 

Brewster said that grant funding can be used for a variety of purposes including security planning, equipment, training, structural improvements and threat assessments.

“The non-profit grant program is a meaningful extension of the school safety grant program that is already in place,” Brewster said.  “As a member of the school safety board, I know the value of enhanced security and how facility improvements serve as a deterrent.”

Brewster said the program is awarding $5 million in grants through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.  He said that more than 800 applications were received.