Hartford Foundation for Public Giving Awards $300k Security Grant to Jewish Federation

Funding Supports Interfaith Security Initiative in Greater Hartford  

WEST HARTFORD, CONN. (February 26, 2024) – The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving  announced a $300,000 grant in support of an interfaith security initiative for organizations throughout Greater Hartford. The grant, awarded to Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, will allow the local Jewish community to provide security training for churches, mosques, and other local faith-based organizations.

The Hartford Foundation grant builds on state and federal funding designed to combat hate crimes throughout Connecticut, including a $3.2 million Nonprofit Security Grant Program announced by Senator Richard Blumenthal in September 2023. The grant will also foster dialogue and collaboration between Greater Hartford’s many faith communities.

“We must do all we can to ensure that the rise of hate speech and acts of religious discrimination and harassment do not threaten people’s ability to safely attend their houses of worship,” said Hartford Foundation President and CEO Jay Williams. “The Hartford Foundation is grateful for this opportunity to partner with the Jewish Federation in this effort to equip religious institutions representing people of all faiths with the knowledge and resources they need to keep everyone safe.”

In recent years, we have seen a dramatic rise of antisemitism.  For example, according to a recent report by the Anti-Defamation League, antisemitic incidents recorded in the United States in the last two months of 2023 increased by more than 337% over the same period in the prior year.

In response, the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford formed the Greater Hartford Secure Community Initiative in 2021, which operates in partnership with the Secure Community Network (SCN), a nationwide security hub for Jewish organizations and synagogues. Through this initiative, the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford built a comprehensive program for security assessments and trainings and is eager to share its efforts with local peer organizations. “Unfortunately, recent events underscore the need for significant security enhancements, not just for the Jewish community, but for all faith communities,” said David Waren, Federation CEO and President. “This generous grant will allow us to help other communities in the area, as well as develop interfaith collaboration and understanding.”

State Senator Saud Anwar, whose district includes a sizable Muslim community, recognized the dire need addressed by the Hartford Foundation grant. “Anyone should be able to practice their faith in peace, free from concerns about safety amid rising threats against houses of worship in recent years,” said Senator Anwar. “[T]his grant provides a sense of security to worshippers who can enjoy religious services without worry.”

The Hartford Foundation grant will help expand interfaith security efforts already underway. Recently, Federation Security Director John Colangelo performed a detailed assessment of Hartford’s Faith Seventh-Day Adventist Church, sharing security measures used by many local Jewish agencies and synagogues. “Mr. Colangelo provided hands-on training, safety workshops, and seminars for our security staff, deacons, ushers, and greeters,” said Pastor T. Basil Sturrup. “Our congregation is in a safer environment because of Mr. Colangelo, and I recommend [his assessment] to the leaders of every church, synagogue, mosque, or organization that has been a target of hate speech or a hate crime.”


About the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford

The Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford protects and enhances the well-being of Jews worldwide through the values of tikkun olam (repairing the world), tzedakah (charity and social justice) and Torah (Jewish learning).

About the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding towns. Through partnerships, the Foundation seeks to strengthen communities in Greater Hartford by putting philanthropy in action to dismantle structural racism and achieve equity in social and economic mobility. Made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations, the Foundation has awarded grants of more than $998 million since its founding in 1925. For more information, visit www.hfpg.org or call 860-548-1888.