“For the past 100 years, The Minneapolis Foundation has been working toward creating a community where everyone has the opportunity to thrive,” said R.T. Rybak, president and CEO of The Minneapolis Foundation. “Religious intolerance has no place in our community, and it is essential that everyone who lives here stand up against the deeply distressing instances of bias and hate that we have seen in recent months.”
Proceeds from the Faith In Each Other Fund will be used to support the community security initiative of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC). The JCRC serves as the official Jewish community liaison with federal, state, and local law enforcement. It provides security guidance to Jewish organizations, working with law enforcement as well as private security organizations to develop and implement monitoring, prevention, response, and training programs.
“During a time of unprecedented threats, The Faith In Each Other Fund is an important and meaningful display of solidarity with the Jewish community. This charitable fund will support Jewish community-wide security initiatives, helping local Jewish organizations address security needs in the face of recent anti-Semitic threats,” said Steve Hunegs, executive director at the JCRC. “Law enforcement and security professionals emphasize that one of the most effective ways to prevent or mitigate emergencies is a prepared and dedicated staff. The fund will help provide Jewish community professionals with the tools they need to better respond during an emergency.”
So far in 2017, there have been threats to more than 150 Jewish Community Centers and schools – including the JCCs in both St. Louis Park and St. Paul. The fund is being opened up for additional public contributions if people are interested.
The fund is just one of what officials are hoping will be other new funding mechanisms to help improve security in the Jewish community. There are bi-partisan sponsored bills currently Minnesota House and Senate that would create a supplemental nonprofit security grant program. In the U.S. Senate, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is a sponsor of the Faith-Based Community Center Protection Act which, among other things, will allow for Homeland Security Grant Program funds to be used to safeguard faith-based community centers across the United States. Sen. Al Franken also signed a letter requesting the increased funding.
“People want to be safe, and right now we do nationwide, just $20 million for these kinds of grants,” Klobuchar said Sunday in a visit to the St. Paul JCC. “A number of us are requesting a doubling of these grants. It would help the JCC and other religious community centers around the country to protect themselves.”
In addition to supporting the Jewish community, The Minneapolis Foundation is planning a second Faith In Each Other Fund to benefit the Muslim community that will launch this spring. The Foundation is working with members of the Muslim community to develop this second fund to ensure that proceeds effectively address the Muslim community’s needs during this uncertain time.
“The Jewish community praises The Minneapolis Foundation for its efforts to support the Muslim community,” added Hunegs. “All communities should work together on security matters and to advance the public good which The Minneapolis Foundation has so long advanced. These funds truly exemplify The Minneapolis Foundation’s mission of bringing together people, ideas, and resources to improve lives locally.”