My father, Barry Rosenberg (1935-2016), lived his life as a fiery advocate for the underdog.

In the 1960s he fought for social change. I have vivid memories of my dad carrying me on his shoulders at the civil rights marches and anti-war protests. He was an activist, a community organizer and an award-winning scholar.

While he was a revered middle and high school teacher in the 1970s and '80s, my dad created an influential class on the history of modern revolutions. He also developed a pioneering study skills program for students who struggle with conventional learning techniques. Known as the Early Birds, the kids would come to school an hour early in the morning to find alternative ways to learn.

During the 1990s he became a master social worker, compassionately helping troubled adolescents and their families. Working full-time through his 80th birthday in 2015, my dad was also a devoted and spirited mentor — to his colleagues and to the countless young people he served.

Inspired by my father's tireless passion for social justice, education and creative trailblazing, in 1991 I founded Art Start. My dad was monumentally proud of our mission and deeply gratified that his legacy could carry on in the work of so many people whose lives he had touched, including the Art Start family of artists, volunteers and, most importantly, the young people we all serve.

Years back, when his granddaughter started calling him Grand Bear, the name stuck. Hence, the Grand Bear Fund, devoted to supporting Art Start's transformative work, has been created to honor the memory of this great bear of a man and to help keep his monumental legacy shining bright.

Scott Rosenberg, Art Start founder