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CAIR Welcomes Updated FEMA FAQ Clarifying DHS Nonprofit Security Grant Program Does Not Require Information Sharing with Law Enforcement

Washington, D.C.-based Muslim civil rights organization urges Muslim communities to apply to grant program

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/24/21) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) update to the FAQ explaining the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Nonprofit Security Grant Program addressing CAIR’s and American Muslim community’s concerns about grant program information sharing requirements with law enforcement and background screening procedures for applications.

SEE: FEMA – NONPROFIT SECURITY GRANT PROGRAM FAQS 
https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/documents/FEMA_FY2012-NSGP-FAQ_Updated_03192021_508.pdf 

SEE: FEMA – Fiscal Year 2021 Nonprofit Security Grant Program 

https://www.fema.gov/grants/preparedness/nonprofit-security

The DHS Nonprofit Security Grant Program is prioritized to increase the capacity of civil society in the areas of risk assessment, resilience building and crisis planning — all items directly related to securing the safety of at-risk communities and institutions. 

Last year, CAIR issued a community wide cautionary guidance about the program following significant language changes in the grant’s Notification of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). Changes to the NOFO included DHS grant programs prioritizing “intelligence and information sharing” as well as cooperation with federal law enforcement as a targeted outcome of the grant program. 

“CAIR welcomes FEMA’s decision to respond to the concerns of the American Muslim community by updating its FAQ for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program,” said CAIR Director of Government Affairs Robert S. McCaw. “CAIR is encouraging the Muslim community to apply to the grant program and will be releasing application resources in coming days.”

FEMA’s updated FAQ now clearly states, in question 20, that: “There are no requirements for information sharing between nonprofits and federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement” to receive the grant. Instead, the grant seeks to bring: “nonprofit organizations into broader state and local preparedness efforts by removing barriers to communication and being more inclusive.” 

[NOTE: While the language of the 2021 NOFO remains nearly the same as the 2020 NOFO, the FAQ clarifies the intent of the language. CAIR has reached out to FEMA requesting the 2022 NOFO be updated to correspond to the updates made to the 2021 FAQ.]

The FAQ also further elaborates about the grant program’s screening process for applicants. Question 21 states: “there is a security review performed by the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis on prospective recipient organizations. This security review takes place after the competitive scoring and selection process is complete. The information provided for the security review is limited to the organization’s name and physical address, as submitted by the nonprofit.” 

Was Your Previous DHS Nonprofit Security Grant Application Denied? 

CAIR remains concerned over the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis’ possible use of the federal terrorist watchlist as a grant program screening component. 

To address those concerns, CAIR is encouraging all American Muslim community nonprofits whose security grant applications are denied this or last year to contact CAIR. CAIR will review denied grant applications with the applicant and FEMA to identify why the application was denied and possible ways to improve future applications. 

Next week, CAIR will host a community webinar about how to apply to the DHS Nonprofit Security Grant Program. More information about the webinar will be released in the coming days. 

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.       

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.     

END      

CONTACT: CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448, rmccaw@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com    

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