Meadow Walker created the Paul Walker Foundation in memory of her father's philanthropic passions

By Jodi Guglielmi
October 05, 2015 11:25 AM

Paul Walker‘s legacy goes far beyond his acting career.

Those closest to Walker are celebrating the life of the actor and philanthropist by making it their priority to continue Walker’s charitable legacy – starting with his love of marine biology.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium presented the 2015 Paul Walker Ocean Leadership Award and Youth Award on Saturday to two deserving individuals doing their part in protecting the ocean.

“My dad was in awe of the ocean and wanted to see it protected,” Meadow told E! News. “It’s exciting to know scholarships and students like Katie [Ridgeway] will ensure the future of our oceans. It’s an honor to be supporting them and the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s teen program.”

Rigeway, a teen conservationist and volunteer at the aquarium, received the Youth award while pop singer Anjali World, the co-founder of the nonprofit Jaws & Paws, took home the Ocean Leadership Award.

“I can’t begin to express how honored I am to receive this award,” Anjali said in a statement. “I used to volunteer at the aquarium when I was in middle school and that experience was one of the reasons I fell in love with the ocean. I am humbled by the recognition, and the opportunity to do even more to protect ocean life.”

From left: Brandon Birtell (Paul Walker Foundation), Katie Ridgeway (Paul Walker Youth Award recipient), Anjali World (Paul Walker Ocean Leadership Award recipient), Julie Packard (Monterey Bay Aquarium executive director)
Bill Coggin/Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation

Walker was deeply involved with the Monterey Bay Aquarium from 2005 until his untimely death in 2013. The Paul Walker Ocean Leadership Awards were created in 2014 to recognize “individuals who are using their public stature to advance ocean causes and support philanthropic ventures.”

Singer Jack Johnson and supermodel Marisa Miller received the first awards, in 2014.

“Most people mourning the death of Paul Walker know him best in his roles as an actor: The Fast and the Furious series, Varsity Blues, She’s All That and Pleasantville, among many. We knew him as an aspiring marine biologist and a lifelong friend of the ocean,” the aquarium wrote on its website. “Growing up, Paul was inspired by Jacques Cousteau – his mentor and role model. He studied marine biology in college and planned to make that his career before he was drawn into acting. But the ocean was never far from his life – or his concerns.”

To further support Walker’s philanthropic efforts, Meadow, 16, announced the creation of the Paul Walker Foundation on what would have been his 42nd birthday, on Sept. 12.

“Reflecting on my father, I found myself connecting with his passions,” Meadow told the aquarium. “His passion for the ocean, his passion for rescuing animals, his passion for helping people, his passion for spontaneous goodwill. I wanted to share that piece of him with others. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my father than to continue his legacy of helping others.”

The message echoes a touching tribute Meadow posted to Instagram, announcing the creation of the foundation.

“I wanted to start this foundation because I want to share that piece of him with the world. I want to share that part of him with others. I am tremendously proud to be launching The #PaulWalkerFoundation (@paulwalkerfdn) on his birthday,” she wrote.

Meadow has also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Porsche, alleging that the cars’ lack of safety features led to his death.

Lawyers for Meadow claim the Porsche Carrera GT that her father’s friend, Roger Rodas, was driving when they crashed “lacked safety features … that could have prevented the accident or, at a minimum, allowed Paul Walker to survive the crash,” according to the lawsuit obtained by PEOPLE.