In a move to ensure the safety of Colorado’s diverse religious communities, Gov. Jared Polis (D-CO) announced the allocation of an additional $1 million in state funding.
The Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) funds, approved in a unanimous decision by the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) of the Colorado Legislature, aim to fortify 30 non-profit organizations, including synagogues, mosques, and churches, against the rising tide of targeted violence. The Colorado Nonprofit Security Grant Program, enacted in 2022, seeks to support organizations at high risk due to their ideology, beliefs, or mission.
Polis expressed his commitment to creating a safe environment for all Coloradans, irrespective of their faith.
“Everyone should be safe to worship as they choose without fearing for their safety,” said Polis in a news release. “These grants are a testament to Colorado’s dedication to being a place of safe religious expression and not of narrow-minded hate.”
This new wave of funding will allow the Colorado Department of Public Safety (CDPS) to support to an additional 21 applicants and fully fund the original nine awards. Earlier this year, the program partially funded nine organizations with a total of $408,255. The additional funds are seen as a crucial step in combating the disturbing rise in hate crimes and threats, particularly antisemitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of targeted violence.
State Sen. Dafna Michaelson Jenet (D-Commerce City) and state Rep. Iman Jodeh (D-Aurora), among the legislation’s sponsors, emphasized the importance of protecting communities from violence and ensuring the safe practice of religious beliefs.
JBC Chair Shannon Bird (D-Westminster) highlighted the partnership with local non-profits, stating, “All places of worship should be sacred, and this program connects houses of worship with resources they need to ramp up security and keep Coloradans safe.”
The NSGP funding will cover a range of security enhancements, including planning, training, contracted security personnel, and the acquisition and installation of security equipment. Allowable security equipment is detailed on FEMA’s Authorized Equipment List.
These grants align with the governor’s budget, which proposes a substantial investment of $39.6 million in evidence-based crime prevention and interventions to disrupt crime and enhance community safety.
Polis has said he wants to make Colorado one of the top ten safest states in the country.
CORRECTION: State Sen. Dafna Michaelson Jenet’s district was misidentified. She represents Commerce City.