Agudath Israel of America commends California Governor Gavin Newsom and state legislative leaders for providing a record $80 million per year to protect Jewish and other at risk nonprofits in the 2024-2025 budget bill that will be passed later this week.

Since its inception in 2015, the California State Nonprofit Security Grant Program has proven to be a crucial tool in securing hundreds of institutions and community organizations that face violent attacks and hate crimes due to their ideology, beliefs, or mission. The program was strengthened in 2023 through passage of AB 1185 (Gabriel), a bill strongly supported by Agudath Israel, which also allowed the grants to be used for community infrastructure, thus enabling multiple sites to be connected and equipped with critical public safety technology and communications tools.

This year’s funding represents a significant expansion of the security grant. While the final budget last year only included $20 million for the program, Governor Newsom then provided an additional $20 million for the program after the October 7th attacks in Israel. This year’s budget agreement not only doubles the total 2023 funding, but, for the first time, provides a multi-year commitment, allocating $80 million for 2025 as well.

“With the exponential increase in antisemitism following October 7th, there is an urgent need to protect vulnerable communities in California,” said Rabbi Yaakov Subar, director of Agudath Israel of America’s California office. “We sincerely thank the leadership of the Legislative Jewish Caucus, particularly Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, Governor Newsom, Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas and Senate President Pro Tem Mike McGuire for recognizing this need and agreeing to prioritize this critical program despite facing a nearly $50 billion budget shortfall.”

“Agudath Israel of America has been at the forefront of the effort to enact and expand federal and state security grants, and has been working with legislative and organizational partners in DC and Sacramento for many years,” said Rabbi A.D. Motzen, Agudath Israel of America’s national director of government affairs. “We thank all those who reached out to their elected officials in California to support this critical funding. It will no doubt help save lives.”

To watch Rabbi Subar’s testimony in support of expanding the security program to $80 million click here