Leonard Silverstein

January 21, 1922 Scranton, Pennsylvania – February 14, 2018 in his home Bethesda, Maryland 

Leonard Silverstein founded the French-American Cultural Foundation in 1998 and served as its President for 18 years.  The relationship between France and the United States always held a special place in his heart. He built and led the Foundation so that the seminal link between France and America would not be forgotten, but rather cherished and celebrated.  He was awarded the title of Officier de la Légion d’Honneur, one of the highest honors bestowed by the French government, for his outstanding devotion to French culture. 

Mr. Silverstein’s passions were the arts and history.  He combined his professional expertise with extensive relationships worldwide to aid Washington’s development as a community that welcomed the arts and celebrated its history.  He served on the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, as Treasurer of the American Committee of the Bicentennial of the French Revolution, as Vice ­Chairman and Honorary Trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center, as President of the Alliance Française of Washington, D.C., as former President and Board Member of the National Symphony Orchestra Association, Board Member of the White House Historical Association and the Choral Arts Society of Washington, and as Treasurer of the Madison Council of the Library of Congress.

In addition to being a highly regarded cultural benefactor, Mr. Silverstein was a distinguished attorney who had a keen understanding of the importance of corporate philanthropy to a community. Mr. Silverstein served as a Naval Officer during World War II, between earning his degrees from Yale University and Harvard Law School. Early in his career, he served as an attorney in the Office of Chief Counsel for the Internal Revenue Service, and on the legal advisory staff of the Treasury Department. He founded Silverstein & Mullins, which later merged into Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney PC. His law practice focused on estate planning, the administration of non-profits, and charitable contributions. He was also a pioneer in developing U.S. tax law regarding charitable donations, and was the founder and editor of Tax Management Publication Series, one of the most highly regarded private publications in the U.S. tax field. 

Leonard Silverstein dedicated his life to promoting arts and culture in Washington, D.C. His extraordinary generosity and service to others is felt by all Americans but especially those who have a love for French-American culture.

We at the Foundation strive to follow Mr. Silverstein’s passion, love, and legacy of service to both American and French culture.