FEMA Nonprofit Security Grant Program Information Guide

FEMA Nonprofit Security Grant Program Information Guide

A new year means a new round of Homeland Security (DHS) grants are available through the Non-profit Security Grant Program (NSGP). Last year $90 million were awarded to non-profit organizations across the county to help harden their security to prevent domestic and international terrorist attacks.  While the deadline for the NSGP is typically in April, the time to start familiarizing yourself with the program and preparing your application is now. Fortunately for you, AEGIS Security & Investigations can help get you on the right path and do some of the heavy lifting.

The Homeland Security NSGP grant awards can be as much as $100,000 or more, per organization. Since the money is big, so are the requirements to get these grants, or at least it could seem that way to someone who doesn’t have an expert security company behind them. This is where AEGIS comes in and makes the process more manageable. 

The first steps to receive a NSGP grant from DHS are largely administrative. It starts with  getting registered in the federal grant system and ensuring you are registered as a 501(c)3 non-profit. Organizations can get registered in the system by applying for a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number. This is fairly easy, can be done online, and according to FEMA only takes about 24 hours. Once you get a DUNS number you can register into the System for Award Management (SAM) which is how the federal government verifies your organizations banking information to ensure grant funds are going to their intended recipients. The FEMA website says this process typically takes a couple of days.

Once the above steps are complete it’s time to do the real work and you’re better off having a qualified and experienced security consultant like AEGIS by your side as you move forward.  In order to get a DHS grant from the NSGP you need to have a security assessment performed by a security professional. This expert assessment helps to identify potential threats, security vulnerabilities, and the consequences to your assets and organization if these issues are not addressed. This is a service AEGIS has provided for years on various levels for a wide array of businesses, organizations, schools, and non-profit institutions.

AEGIS provides expert-level security consulting services including risk & vulnerability assessments, workplace violence prevention security assessments, real time threat management consulting, risk management consulting, and security system design & project management consulting. Our security experts work with you to assemble a comprehensive assessment of where you can improve to protect your assets, employees, data, and events as well as a detailed plan of how you can accomplish those goals effectively and timely. This can include training, contracting police and security services, installing security infrastructure, and planning for attempted attacks on your organization.

Such a thorough and detailed assessment and strategic plan is a massive benefit when applying for a NSPG grant, because the next requirement is a detailed investment justification in which you must prove to DHS that flaws or gaps exist in your organizations current security which leave you susceptible to an act of terror, a detailed plan of how exactly you will address these flaws and gaps, and the ability to obtain the training, personnel, and equipment for which you’re applying.

AEGIS not only does the assessment and helps you create a plan. We also provide all of the services which we can recommend. This will help you adequately complete your investment justification because you’ll already have a detailed quote from AEGIS for the cost of improving your security, obtaining active shooter/workplace violence prevention training, and conducting a full scale assessment. A quote from a trusted company operated by security expects with the scope to follow through on your grant-eligible project.

Ahead of the curve and always innovating, AEGIS is not a traditional security company. While our services do include a wide array of uniformed safety and security professionals, we are also equipped to provide training, protect data, install and monitor security systems, and during the Coronavirus pandemic we even helped secure health as we developed and administer contact tracing services. We are truly a one stop shop to help your organization achieve complete, multi-tiered, comprehensive security.

This bodes well for those applying for DHS grants through the NSGP. The funds awarded through the program can be used for five specific purposes and AEGIS can help you with all of them. 

The first accepted expense is planning. These expenses include creating a plan to protect your workspace, assets, employees, and clients. As we discussed above AEGIS will help develop a plan as part of your risk assessment. We are in the business of offering solutions, not simply identifying problems.  That is why we not only help create a plan to make your organization and assets more secure, but also can help develop an emergency plan so you are prepared should the worst ever occur.

The second way you can use NSGP funds is on security exercises. This includes the cost of practicing the emergency plans AEGIS creates for you. Having a plan is a great first step, but you need to conduct routine exercises to make sure everyone in the building knows how to carry out the plan. This is why public schools are required to do routine fire drills. Orchestrating security exercises is something you need an expert to do. AEGIS is experienced in creating the correct atmosphere so such exercises are taken seriously and can also be measured to ensure the exercises are productive.

A third option for spending an NSGP grant is on training. Specifically training concentrated on protection of critical infrastructure and key resources, including physical and cybersecurity, target hardening, and terrorism awareness/employee preparedness. AEGIS offers training in all of these fields plus active shooter training, first aid training, and self-defense training. Not only does AEGIS offer these services, but in the age of social distancing we also offer these training courses virtually/online to ensure the health and safety of all participants. While training for these situations can be heavy, it is a valuable asset for employees which empowers them with the knowledge they need to protect themselves. 

The fourth acceptable expense with these grant funds from the NSGP is security equipment. An effective security camera, alarm system, access control, and emergency alert system will not only provide a valuable passive deterrence against breach of law and policy, but helps manage emergencies and assists in the investigation when breaches are committed. Enhancing these systems with 24/7 remote guard monitoring with 2 way audio, 24/7 alarm monitoring, and 24/7 access control monitoring multiplies the effectiveness of an on-site security program. 

AEGIS Security & Investigations assists clients in designing and sourcing systems that integrate within their broader safety, security, and emergency plan. Prior to calling camera or alarm contractors to install new systems or upgrade existing hardware, working with a security systems consultant can frame considerations and provide a higher return on the investment. Our five step system to provide clients with effective mechanical and technological security systems is unique and takes all of the hassle of managing the project off your shoulders.

Other equipment we have available include decoy patrol vehicles which can be strategically positioned to make your organization a harder target. The appearance of law enforcement does deter criminal activity. 

If you want something less passive, we also have autonomous security robots. AEGIS is one of a select few authorized providers of Knightscope autonomous security robots.

Costs for these systems is typically about half the cost of what a human security officer costs; and they don’t sleep. These robots can be deployed at ingress and egress points, indoors, or outdoors. They can function fully autonomously and be monitored in real time via an integrated cloud based portal. Operating alone or in conjunction with human security teams, Knightscope security robots are the force multiplier that fill gaps in security and keeps businesses and communities safe.

The final used for the NSGP grants from DHS is maintenance and sustainment. This includes improvements, replacements, warranties, and contracts. AEGIS provides services which help maintain your security infrastructure and plans. This starts with contract services for off-duty officers, armed security guards, unarmed security guards, and various other security personnel. 

Also, referring back to our security systems services, we also offer 24/7 closed circuit monitoring and real time risk & threat assessment. The goal is to make sure you, your organization, your employees, your assets, and your clients are safe and protected not only from today’s threat, but any new ones which may arise in the future.

In the current climate, both nationally and abroad, acts of terror are becoming increasingly more common and take on many forms. As non-profits continue to help marginalized communities it is imperative that they also protect themselves from such heinous acts. People need to be able to get help without fear of being attacked. Here at AEGIS we truly believe that and want to help ensure the safety of everyone. 

That is why we encourage our local non-profits to apply for DHS grants through the NSGP. Safety and security come at a cost, but with resources like the NSGP available the cost can become manageable or even zeroed out. It is important that non-profit organizations take advantage of such programs to ensure they can continue to safely provide the much needed help they offer to communities most in need.