Tepper Foundation issues $2.5 million in security grants to protect Jewish children

New Jersey-based organization says new Security Fund needed in light of growing threats to Jewish institutions

As Jewish institutions across the U.S., from synagogues to Jewish Community Centers, tighten security measures as a response to rising antisemitism, the Tepper Foundation noticed that fears were particularly heightened among young families. In response, the grantmaking foundation announced on Monday that it will deploy $2.5 million in emergency grants through its Security Fund to underwrite the cost of security personnel in Jewish institutions where young children are in attendance. 

“By speaking with our grantees, we discovered that many of them don’t have security on the premises when young children are present. This was creating a good deal of anxiety among parents,” Marian Stern, a consultant who serves as a portfolio manager at The Tepper Foundation, told eJewishPhilanthropy.

The Security Fund was launched by the foundation in November with an initial seeding of $2 million. Its first allocation was a $500,000 grant to Hillel International, which Hillel matched to provide $1 million toward increased security on college campuses.

The recipients of the new grants include: Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest, N.J., to be distributed to synagogues and JCCs in Essex, Morris, Sussex, Union and Somerset counties in New Jersey; Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County, to be distributed to synagogues and JCCs in Palm Beach and Martin counties in Florida; Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte, N.C., to be distributed to synagogues and JCCs in greater Charlotte; Jewish Kids Group and Jewish Kids Group Accelerator, which provides Jewish-sponsored after-school programs in the Atlanta area and Florida; Foundation for Jewish Camp, which will distribute the security grants to five day camps in Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Oregon; and Marlene Meyerson Jewish Community Center Manhattan.. 

Stern explained that recipients did not apply for the grant. Rather, the foundation selected its recipients based on its current roster of Jewish grantees that represent organizations where there might be early childhood programs.

“We fund other Jewish organizations that didn’t fit into this program and we reached out to them,” Stern said, noting, “The Tepper Foundation is exploring an expansion of this program by working with partners that we are identifying right now.”

She said the fund would “continue to support institutions where there are young children in their spaces, whether that’s through preschool or other early childhood programs,” Stern continued. 

The Tepper Foundation said the $3 million in grants were necessary in light of growing security threats to Jews and Jewish institutions.

“We are working with partners to deploy resources as quickly as possible — to safeguard Jewish spaces frequented by families and children,” David Tepper, founder and board chair of the foundation, said in a statement. “While there is a critical need today, we also want to make sure these increased security measures can be sustained for as long as necessary, so we encourage other foundations and individuals to join us in funding this work.”