Two York County nonprofits receive grants to upgrade security, training

Matt Enright
York Dispatch

Two York County nonprofits are receiving  state grant funding to help increase security.

Emmanuel United Church of Christ and YWCA York received $23,000 and $24,500, respectively, from the Nonprofit Security Grant Fund Program.

The program, established in 2019 and administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, provides grants to nonprofits that serve those who are at risk for hate crimes based on their race, gender, gender identity, religion, disability, sexual orientation or ethnicity.

"This is an investment in the safety and security of the diverse communities that are the tapestry of Pennsylvania," Gov. Tom Wolf said in a news release. "It's unfortunate that hate continues to surface here, hurting Pennsylvanians and tearing apart our communities. I will continue to stand with and support these communities in any way I can."

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The Rev. Kenneth Peterkin of Emmanuel United Church of Christ said the Hanover church had applied for the grant because the members and staff wanted to gain a better understanding of active shooters or intruders as well as upgrade security at an off-site cemetery that has been vandalized in the past.

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"We just want to take care and be aware of this and provide appropriate security in case we either need to provide evidence or to protect people who we have welcomed into our building and are providing security for," Peterkin said.

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Peterkin said the church staff will undergo training. Infrastructurally, they'll be installing more lighting and panic buttons as well as security cameras at the cemetery and church. 

YWCA York in York City, Friday, July 9, 2021. Dawn J. Sagert photo

YWCA York CEO Jean Treuthart said via email that grant funding will cover safety and awareness training, including active intruder training, for all staff at each of its York County locations. They're also looking to add additional security cameras, motion detectors and outside lighting for newly renovated buildings.

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"Our programs include child care for ages six months and up, and also vital services for victims of violence including housing, counseling and legal services," Treuthart said. "Because we serve vulnerable populations, safe and welcoming spaces are critical to the work we do."

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The two York County nonprofits are among 120 churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and other nonprofit organizations that are benefitting from the grant funding.

Pennsylvania awarded $5.23 million in total in 2022. 

— Reach Matt Enright via email at menright@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @Matthew_Enright.