It's important for all schools to have proper measures in place to ensure appropriate protection for students, faculty, and staff. Keeping up with best practices in school security can be expensive, but the risks associated with not taking proper measures are much greater. Fortunately, some sources of grant funding are available for schools and law enforcement agencies.
School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP)
Offered through the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program of of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP) grants are made available to state and local government agencies that operate or oversee K-12 schools, law enforcement agencies, and Indian tribes. This grant program was authorized under the Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act of 2018. It provides funding to help cover costs associated with several types of safety measures for schools, both on campus and in the areas immediately surrounding school locations. Grant funds can be used for things like:
- Educating law enforcement officers on school violence prevention measures
- School safety equipment, such as lighting, metal detectors, locks, etc.
- Enhancing coordination and communication between schools and law enforcement
- Other security improvement measures
Grant funds can be used to cover up to 75% of the cost of these types of measures. Qualifying entities can apply for funds via the SVPP page on the DOJ website. Funds are awarded annually, with applications closing in April for funding requests for the following fiscal year. In 2019, $85.3 million in grant funding was awarded through this program.
STOP School Violence Grant Program
The Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence grant program is offered through the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) of the DOJ. The focus of this program is to help prevent acts of violence, as well as to make sure students and teachers are prepared to recognize and act quickly in response to escalating situations. Eligible entities include public and private schools, municipalities, law enforcement agencies, and Indian tribes. Funding is directed toward violence prevention programs, such as:
- Conducing threat assessments and training intervention teams for schools
- Improved reporting capabilities, including technology-based solutions
- Additional strategies designed to help prevent school violence
Learn about the program on the BJA website. As of April 2020, more than $11 billion had been awarded through this program, which first began in 2018. This program typically accepts applications for the first few months of the calendar year.
Target Public Safety Grants
Retail giant Target is committed to helping to improve safety in the communities where the company does business. Target's public safety grants are available to public schools and 501(c)(3) charities located within 100 miles of one of the company's distribution centers or stores. Priority is given to programs focused on crime prevention and ones that strengthen the relationship between young people and public safety partners.
This is an invitation-only grant program. Eligible schools or nonprofits wishing to be considered should contact their local store or distribution center to request a meeting with the Asset Protection team. At the meeting, an organizational representative will need to provide detailed information, such as:
- General information about the school safety initiative and its expected community impact
- Amount of the grant request
- Outline of how any funds received through the program would be used
- Details on how the program will be assessed and evaluated
Grants are awarded in April and September each year. For details, visit the public safety grants page on Target's corporate website.
Motorola Solutions Grant Assistance
While Motorola doesn't directly fund grants, they do offer free assistance to schools and nonprofits to help them secure funding to offset the cost of safety-focused school communication systems, such as the company's SchoolSAFE Communications program. If your school is seeking funding to improve safety through enhanced communication capabilities, you can apply for no-cost grant-seeking assistance via the Motorola Solutions grant page.
Examples of State Grants for School Security Equipment
Some states offer grant programs focused on school security safety. A few examples are listed here; if you live elsewhere, you'll need to contact your state's Department of Education (DOE) to find out if state-funded programs are available where you live or work.
- Indiana Secured School Safety Grant (SSSG): Implemented in 2013, Indiana's SSSG program provides school districts, as well as private and charter schools, with access to matching funds to help cover the cost of preparing for and addressing school security risks and threats. Applications are accepted until early August each year. Each year, specifics are released regarding exactly what funds awarded through this state-funded program can be used to cover.
- Texas Education Agency (TEA) School Safety & Security Grant: This annual state-funded grant program provides public schools with access to money to cover the cost of installing school security equipment (such as bullet resistant glass, upgraded doors, vehicle barriers, etc.) and monitoring/alarm systems. Applications typically close in January of each year.
Continually Seek School Philanthropy Programs
Grant programs aren't always the same from year to year. Just like the need for money to improve school security changes, so does the availability of funds. Continue to be diligent in searching for opportunities at the federal, state, and local level, as well as from private organizations. Use best practices for finding grant funding. For example, reach out to your state's DOE and law enforcement agencies to ask for direction in your search for grant funding. If these agencies offer a way to register to be notified of grant programs via email, sign up for their lists. Also consider contacting the Chamber of Commerce in your area to find out if they have information about potential grant programs, foundations, or other funding opportunities. Once you identify suitable programs, the next step will be to write and submit successful grant proposals.