On March 13, NBC will premiere Rise, the latest series from Friday Night Lights showrunner Jason Katims. The show tells the story of a high school theater department and the effect it has on its surrounding community. With that in mind, NBC is launching R.I.S.E. America, a program that grants $500,000 to high school theater programs across the United States.
The program, for which NBC has partnered with the Educational Theatre Foundation, will award 50 high school with a $10,000 grant. Eligible schools can apply between now and Tuesday, Feb. 6 at NBC.com/Rise, with the winning schools being announced in March.
“This program is incredibly personal to me as someone whose own life was changed by a high school theatre program,” NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt said in a press release. “I wholeheartedly support the work of the ETF and have seen the effect of their initiatives on thousands of students. I’m proud that Rise will be more than just an uplifting show about a high school drama program, but, through this initiative, will also have an impact on the lives of real students in 50 high schools.”
Rise showrunner Jason Katims added: “From the start, I wanted to find a way to support the types of schools and students whose stories we were telling. I couldn’t be more thrilled, or feel more passionately, about this partnership and cause. The support Bob and NBC have shown to help make a real difference for schools and theatre programs around the country shines a light on their vital importance.”
Eligible schools — meaning they have an existing theater program or a champion of theater in their teaching staff —can submit a video up to two minutes long to celebrate their program and a 500-word essay explaining why they deserve the grant and how they’ll use the money. Lastly, they need to submit a letter of recommendation from a school principal or administrator.
For more on the program, watch the video above with Rise stars Josh Radnor, Rosie Perez, Auli’i Cravalho, and Damon J. Gillespie.