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  • Writer's pictureDennis McCaslin

Arkansas governor announces faith-based public safety grants for six organizations

Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the Arkansas Department of Public Safety announced today that six faith organizations will receive Right to Worship Grants to enhance security. There was previously no avenue to provide aid for those at high risk for a terrorist attack, therefore the Governor and her staff worked with Arkansas State Police and the legislature to address that. 

The DPS Right to Worship Safely Grant Program (RTWSGP) supports physical security enhancement and other security activity projects that serve to assist nonprofit ideology-based/spiritual/religious entities in the prevention, protection against, preparedness for, and response to terrorist threat(s) and/or other extremist attack(s).

“The right to worship freely is our most fundamental right,” said Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “With threats against religious communities rising across the country, we created the Right to Worship grant program for faith groups in need of protection. No person or community should ever be violently targeted for their faith. The recipients we are announcing today demonstrated the highest need for support, and I’m proud my administration is stepping up to help.”

DPS Secretary Colonel Mike Hagar added, “The Department of Public Safety’s mission is to ensure the safety and security of all Arkansans. While Arkansans are worshiping, they should not fear for their safety.” 

2024 Arkansas Right to Worship Safely Grant Awardees

Congregation Agudath Achim:  $43,200

Congregation B'nai Israel:  $74,449

Congregation House of Israel:  $11,273

Lubavitch of Arkansas:  $60,000

St. Mary’s Catholic Church Hot Springs:  $8,065

Subiaco Abbey:  $30,805

AThirty-one entities applied for the grants, requesting a total of $2,139,421. Organizations did not receive grants unless they met all grant program requirements.

Eligible nonprofit ideology-based/spiritual/religious institution/organization were required to be: (1) Designated as a 501(c)3 organization; and (2) received an active terrorist threat(s) and/or extremist attack(s) in the past twelve months; and (3) established risk to the organization (Threat, Vulnerability, and Consequence); Applicants must also be located within the state of Arkansas.

Threats were verified and evaluated by the Arkansas State Police for credibility and applications were reviewed by the RTWS Committee.

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