Paul Walker Ocean Leadership Award: Selection Guidelines

Paul Walker Ocean Leadership Award: Selection Guidelines

The Paul Walker Ocean Leadership Award was created by the Monterey Bay Aquarium in collaboration with Paul Walker’s daughter in 2014 to honor the memory of the actor who used his celebrity to advance ocean causes and in support of philanthropic ventures. The annual award continues his legacy by recognizing individuals who use their public stature in a similar fashion.
The pairing also created a Paul Walker Youth Award to recognize a young person who is an ocean conservation champion. The Paul Walker Foundation working with the Aquarium provides scholarship support to the youth award winner so they can pursue marine science studies in college.
Award Criteria
Award candidates to be considered by Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Paul Walker Foundation must:
  • Have a high public profile in one or more dimensions of the entertainment media (e.g. celebrities in the worlds of acting, music, dance, comedy, art, sports, social media).
  • Have demonstrated a public commitment to ocean issues in one or more of these areas:           
A. Ocean plastic pollution.
B. Sustainable seafood.
C. Ocean wildlife protection.
D. Ocean climate impacts.
E. Ocean Education

Have demonstrated their commitment via one or more of these channels:

A. Speaking out        
B. Producing PSAs.
C. Living an ocean-friendly lifestyle.
D. Activating and engaging youth/fans in support of ocean conservation issues
  • Be individuals whose character and values align with the Aquarium’s brand and image, and with the values that Paul Walker embodied, and his foundation carries on today.
  • Be willing to act as a spokesperson and/or deliver messages on behalf of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s conservation programs, and the Paul Walker Foundation Identifying Candidates
The process of finding potential Paul Walker Award recipients will include:

1.    Adult award

  • Research publicly available sources (, news clips, social media mentions and referrals from past recipients)
  • Seek referrals from colleagues in the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Development & Fundraising, Conservation & Science and other work groups
  • Seek suggestions from the Paul Walker Foundation, Environmental Media Awards colleagues and others more directly involved in the entertainment industry
2.    Youth award (16-22)
A selection process has been developed to invite nominations and/or recommend a recipient.  This process is in collaboration with the Paul Walker Foundation. Selection Process
  1. Adult award
  2. Compile list of potential recipients
  3. Preliminary vetting* of candidates by representatives from the Marketing, Development and Conservation & Science divisions.
  4. Final review and selection of candidates by leadership of Paul Walker Foundationand the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
*Vetting process:
After researching sources that provide information about a candidate’s positive, negative or neutral image, determine that awarding the Paul Walker Ocean Leadership Award to the selected recipient would be a (high level, mid-level or low-level) reputational risk. Issues to be considered in assessing potential reputational risk will include factors such as criminal history, drug use, controversial public behavior or espousing extreme positions
NOTE: It is always an option to skip a year if a suitable candidate is not identified.
  1. Youth award
  2. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Education department announces the award to participants of its Teacher Institutes and Teen Programs and direct interested parties to the award guidelines/application process found on the Paul Walker Foundation website.
  3. Candidates submit an award application/essay with recommendations
  4. Preliminary vetting of candidates by a subcommittee comprised of educators. Final review and selection of candidates by leadership of Paul Walker Foundation and leadership from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Education and Conservation & Science divisions.