Since 2005, FEMA has been offering grants to qualified non-profits to assist them with security measures. In the wake of two mass shootings at non-profits within five days, Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, it is expected that the number of applicants will increase next year.
Applications for the grants, which award up to $75,000, are due in November, and awarded the following January. That’s not going to help any other groups who might need that funding now, but it does give them time to consider applying and getting that application sorted out. In light of the fact that the San Bernardino shooting was claimed by ISIL, yet mimicked a kind of domestic terrorism that is seen all too often in the United States, gives the concept extra credibility, and while FEMA hasn’t announced any specific increase in funding, more funding seems like a plausible eventuality.
Applying for the grants, which have totaled $36 million just since 2013, required the support of a nonprofit’s local State Administrative Agency, which files the application on their behalf. The applicant must also be within an Urban Area Security Initiative designated region in order to qualify. Ironically, San Bernardino is not one of those regions within California.
Groups which have been attacked or threatened in the past qualify to apply, as well as sites which hold “symbolic, nationally or historically recognized significance” which could make that site a possible target for terrorists. Organizations can also apply if closely related organizations have been threatened.
While it is depressing that we live in a world in which terrorists target nonprofits, it isn’t surprising either. Even without a specific political denomination, many nonprofits are politicized, and political targets have long been the favorite of terrorists. At least the government is taking this threat somewhat seriously, as all that talk of terrorism and the “War on Terror” since 9/11 hasn’t done anything to prevent the plague of mass shootings in this country.