With the fall season underway and winter looming, states across the U.S. are opening up their grants for applications. There are a number of different programs and types of security grants that organizations can qualify for. Receiving federal or state money can help organizations ramp up security programs, implement specific security measures or systems such as perimeter security, video surveillance and cybersecurity, and target risks and vulnerabilities specific to their organization.
Typically, security grants come in two forms: federal and state, says William Webster, Co-Founder/Owner of Global Grant Services, Sacramento, Calif., which helps organizations apply for and secure grants.
For security professionals, federal grants from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are one of the most applicable types of federal grant for security and risk mitigation funding within an organization. Each year, the state (typically in the fall) and federal government (typically in the first or second quarter of the year), release their budget allocations for grant monies. Once grants open, organizations can apply by a specific deadline.
In 2020, for example, DHS allocated $90 million in grants for its Nonprofit Security Grant Program; $100 million for the Port Security Grant Program; $88 million for the Transit Security Grant Program and many others totaling $1.8 billion for non-competitive and competitive grants. Grants are available under a number of programs and to a large variety of organizations, such as non-profit, tribal, transit and more.
And, federal grants that can help security departments and security professionals meet their needs don’t come solely from DHS, either. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the Health and Resources and Services Administration, for example, awarded more than $101 million in 2020 to combat substance use disorders (SUD) and opioid use disorders (OUD) and implement training programs to 116 organizations in 42 states and the District of Columbia, with many targeting high-risk rural communities and community healthcare organizations and facilities.
States also dole out security grants each year. Many states have awarded grants to higher education facilities and school districts to implement physical security programs and COVID-19 related mitigation measures.
Webster says that emergency services grants or disaster relief funding grants can be another area of monetary relief for organizations that have been affected by an unplanned event.
“One of the biggest things out there is COVID-19, of course, and there are also the wildfires and other events going on. Typically, when a governor declares a state of emergency, there is almost always monetary grants attached to that, that facilities may or may not qualify for and it will typically go toward hazard mitigation,” he says.
One of the major changes in security grants over the last several years in both state and federal grants, Webster says, is a zero-match requirement. With a matching grant, for example, if an organization needs $10 million toward perimeter security systems such a bollards, barricades and video surveillance, an organization might need to pay $5 million and the grant would then cover the other half. Zero-match grants, however, require no money on behalf of the organization. If a grant is approved, an organization can start a project and get reimbursed for the project later.
While zero-match grants may be welcome news for organizations, competitiveness in securing grants has also grown tremendously in recent years, Webster says. “Grants take a lot of time and research and they can be very complicated and also very competitive,” he says.
Many grants have specific eligibility requirements and qualifications. For organizations that don’t have the staff or ability to hire staff that focuses on securing grant funding, grant services organizations can be an alternative solution for security departments and enterprises.
“Security professionals can identify what they need most through their vulnerability assessments,” Webster says. “If there is a grant that can fund the project to alleviate budgetary restrictions to provide much-needed security in an organization, that can be really helpful.”