USA Launches First-Ever ‘USA Unites’ Awards (Exclusive Video)

“Suits” star Patrick J. Adams helps launch the ceremony with a call for nominations

USA Network is launching its first-ever “USA Unites” awards spotlighting people making a difference in their communities.

The ceremony will honor 10 winners with a $5,000 grant each to fund their projects, and the announcements will be made on-air, online and in their hometowns.

The awards will also include a category honoring youth.

“Building on the great success of the Characters Unite Awards, we’re now expanding the scope of the program to honor unsung heroes making a difference on a wider array of critical causes, including promoting equality, fighting injustice and creating opportunities for those in need,” USA’s senior vice president of public affairs, Toby Graff, said in a statement. “The USA Unites Awards give amazing individuals — including our country’s next generation of leaders — a chance to get the recognition they deserve and a grant to increase their impact.”

“Suits” star Patrick J. Adams helped the network kick off the new awards show with a video calling for nominations.

“All across America there are amazing individuals working tirelessly to strengthen their communities and improve the lives of others,” Adams said. “We want to recognize and reward these unsung heroes.”

The nomination period runs from Feb. 23 to April 17. Nominations require a 500-word essay on how the nominee meets the criteria of character, impact and influence. Submissions can be made at The awards are part of the network’s Characters Unite Month in February promoting greater tolerance, respect and acceptance.

Since launching in 2009, the Characters Unite Awards have given $200,000 in grants through from the network and distribution partners  Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Charter, Comcast, Cox Communications, Mediacom, Time Warner Cable, and Suddenlink.