The Bernstein Family Foundation is committed to investing in people and ideas to strengthen and celebrate the greater Washington community.

Abstract image of Leo M. Bernstein
Abstract image of a group of Jewish immigrants

Leo M. Bernstein (1915-2008) was a Washington, D.C. real estate broker, banker and philanthropist with a keen interest in American history and a deep devotion to democracy and to democratic institutions.

The son of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, he believed fervently in the American Dream—and he lived it.  He believed strongly in this country’s ideals—the values embedded in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights–and he sought to put them into practice in his own life. He took great pride in his country, and he celebrated its presidents and the opportunities it had afforded him.

Mr. Bernstein’s legacy exists not in the things he collected but in the democratic ideals he fought for and achieved for society at large: open housing, gender equality, racial and social justice. Even today, there are lessons to be learned from the life of Leo B. Bernstein, as society continues to struggle with some of the same issues he encountered during his 93 years of life.

Foundation Achievements to Date


Lives impacted by investments targeting specific thought leaders


Years Investing in People & Ideas in Washington, D.C.


Thought leaders supported in our nation’s capital

Our Grantees

Click on the map to see what we have funded in DC to date.