ANNAPOLIS, MD ‒ The Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP) has released the Notice of Funding Availability for the Protecting Religious Institutions Grant. This grant provides financial support for religious congregations of all faiths to make security enhancements to houses of worship in Maryland and protect religious institutions from hate crimes. The funding is offered between July of 2019 and June of 2020.
“The Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention is dedicated to helping secure the safety of our communities in Maryland,” said Glenn Fueston, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention. “We are grateful that Governor Hogan recognizes the need to equip not only our law enforcement officers, but our community organizations, schools, and places of worship with the tools they need to protect Marylanders from harm, as they go about their daily lives.”
In January, Governor Larry Hogan announced $5 million in the FY 2020 budget would support addressing security needs at facilities in Maryland which are potential targets for hate crimes, including places of worship and schools. Security-related enhancements could include training, cameras, security-personnel, improved lighting, and door-hardening. The Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention expects to award $3 million in funding during the 2020 fiscal year to qualified entities that apply for this grant.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.” In Maryland, the most recent Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) data shows 48 hate crimes during 2017, with 12 of those motivated by religious bias. That same year, UCR data reported by the Department of Justice shows that of the more than 1,500 hate bias incidents reported nationally in 2017, more than 20% were motivated by religious bias.
The Protecting Religious Institutions Grant application process is open to non-profit, faith-based entities with appropriate tax status, and applications will be considered and awarded on a rolling basis while funds are available. Eligible entities may only submit one application. GOCCP will not consider requests for capital improvements or information technology projects in excess of $200,000 under this grant.