JCRC Receives Investment from the Otto Bremer Trust to Combat Antisemitism and Provide Security Expertise to Houses of Worship

August 8, 2019

Minneapolis, MN – The Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC) is pleased to announce that it is the recipient of a two-year $250,000 investment from the Otto Bremer Trust (OBT) to strategically build connections, promote civil rights, combat antisemitism, and provide security expertise to houses of worship in communities throughout Minnesota and North Dakota.

“Since 1944, the Otto Bremer Trust has been committed to helping people and communities flourish at critical times,” said Brian Lipschultz, Co-CEO and Trustee, OBT. “We are proud to support the JCRC’s work to strengthen alliances with interfaith and other community partners, particularly in the areas of community security, tolerance education, freedom of religion, and a vigorous sense of collective citizenship.”

The investment will help the JCRC reach non-Jewish communities primarily through the lens of advocacy and programming in the areas of: supporting civil rights for all people; safeguarding our Jewish community while providing security resources to interfaith partners; combatting and educating about antisemitism; and teaching the lessons of and commemorating the Holocaust.

“We are grateful for the strong support we have received from OBT over the years. These grant investments have been critical to allowing the JCRC to succeed as an essential organization for: strengthening connections with law enforcement at all levels, enhancing Jewish community security, and assisting other communities with their security and relationships with law enforcement,” said Steve Hunegs, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas. “Through strong interfaith and intercultural alliances, mutual regard is modeled leading to vigorous citizenship. With OBT’s renewed support, the JCRC seeks to achieve our common objectives of helping strengthen the people, places, and opportunities in Minnesota and North Dakota.”

The JCRC will create an interfaith community platform to tackle hate crimes and offer tangible security recommendations that apply to all houses of worship.

“All Minnesotans deserve to live with dignity and respect and to worship in peace — but too many Minnesotans from religious and racial minorities live in fear of hate crimes. Just one can have a chilling effect on a whole community,” Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said. “This is why I’m especially glad that the JCRC is prioritizing building connections — because ultimately it’s through listening to each other, really getting to know each other as people and members of communities, and standing with each other in the face of division to build a common future that we will defeat hate and hate crimes. I’m gratified that the Otto Bremer Trust continues to recognize the positive impact of the JCRC’s work to defeat hate and stand for the dignity of Minnesota’s Jewish community and all our communities.”

With the recent spike in hate incidents both nationally and locally directed against Jews and other minorities, the JCRC offers its services to local government and school district officials who are on the frontlines of ensuring that our communities and schools are a safe and welcoming place for everyone.

In 2019, the Minnesota State Legislature created a grant opportunity for nonprofit organizations to provide support for physical security enhancements and other security-related activities. The grant opportunity seeks to integrate the preparedness activities of nonprofit organizations with broader state and local preparedness efforts.

Senator Warren Limmer, Maple Grove, chair of the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee, and lead author of the legislation stated: “As a longstanding supporter of the JCRC, I applaud the Otto Bremer Trust for supporting the JCRC’s community security program. Through its relationships with law enforcement and training opportunities, the JCRC helps strengthen Minnesota’s safety and security.”

The JCRC thanks all of its generous supporters. Please see a complete list of our contributors in our 2018 Annual Report.

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About the Otto Bremer Trust: The Otto Bremer Trust (OBT) is a bank holding company and a private charitable trust based in Saint Paul, MN, that works at the intersection of finance and philanthropy. OBT is the 92 percent owner of Bremer Bank, a regional financial services company, and also manages a diversified investment portfolio. Since its founding, OBT has invested more than $700 million in people, places, and opportunities in the Upper Midwest. Visit ottobremer.org.

About the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC): As the public affairs voice of the Jewish community, the JCRC fights antisemitism and prejudice, advocates for Israel, provides Holocaust education, promotes tolerance and social justice, and builds bridges across the Jewish and broader communities. Visit minndakjcrc.org.