Homeland Security Uses Nonprofit Grants to Help Prevent Terrorism

The Department of Homeland Security will invest $10 million in community-level nonprofits, with the goal of preventing extremist messaging from reaching people vulnerable to such messages.

Based on recent headlines, parts of the nonprofit world are taking a stronger role in the war on terrorism.

The latest example comes from an announcement by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which is donating $10 million to an array of local nonprofits, governments, and universities as part of an investment in the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Grant Program. The goal is to encourage those nonprofits to drive programs that will help discourage extremism in local communities. The grants were allocated by Congress as part of the department’s annual budget.

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson emphasized that these grants could play an important role in creating preventive measures.

“As I have said before, given the nature of the evolving terrorist threat, building bridges to local communities is as important as any of our other homeland security missions,” Johnson said in a news release. “This new grant program is an important step forward in these efforts and reflects the Department’s continued commitment to protect the homeland and uphold our values.”

The initiative, Reuters reported, came about in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, in April 2013, with the Justice Department and DHS choosing to eye a community-based approach to fighting extremist messages from the Islamic State and similar groups.

These initiatives focus on supporting mental-health clinics and community groups that may be able to help prevent terrorist activity by working with people susceptible to extremist propaganda.

The agencies launched Countering Violent Extremism pilot programs in Minneapolis, Boston, and Los Angeles last year. The programs have mostly targeted Muslim communities, but a DHS official told Reuters that the goal of the program is not to specifically focus on those groups. However, the official suggested that most grant applications were aimed at stopping Muslim extremism.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is supportive of the grants. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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