4 area houses of worship, school set to receive grant for safety, security

Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 11:49 AM CDT
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(25News Now) - 3 churches, one mosque and a Catholic school in Central Illinois are among 116 non-profit organizations in the state awarded $20 million for enhanced security.

Blessed Sacrament School in Morton is receiving $30,963, Christ Luthern Church of Peoria is receiving $150,000, Islamic Foundation of Peoria is receiving $150,000, Peoria Notre Dame is receiving $82,500 and St. Mark’s Roman Catholic Church in Peoria is receiving $142,000.

The awarded grants, announced by Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, will be used to help strengthen efforts to protect against public safety and security threats.

The funds must be used for target-hardening activities, which include active shooter trainings, the purchase/installation of security equipment on property owned or leased by the not-for-profit organization, and the hiring of contracted security personnel. Security enhancements must be for the locations that the not-for-profit occupies at the time of the application, and the projects must be fully completed during the three-year (36 month) performance period.

A state release says many of the grantees were deemed at high risk of a terrorist attack.

“As Governor, my top priority has always been—and will continue to be—keeping Illinoisans safe,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “This $20 million investment will provide grantees—from mosques and synagogues to education centers and cultural institutions—the resources they need to enhance safety measures amidst the rising tide of extremism. From Skokie to Peoria, Illinoisans deserve to be able to congregate safely with their communities, and that’s exactly what the Nonprofit Security Grant Program achieves.”

“Though we have taken historic steps to make Illinois the most welcoming state in the nation, there has been a rise in anti-Semitism, anti-Asian American hate, anti-immigrant rhetoric, and hate crimes,” said State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago). “We must stay vigilant and provide as many tools in the toolbox as possible to root out hate. In that vein, I am grateful to the advocates and the work that was done to allocate resources to organizations in our communities to protect our constituents from harm.”