León Constantiner continues a fundamental family tradition of philanthropy. His grandfather, Elías Sourasky (b. 1899 Bialystok, Russia), a successful financier, businessman and an avid Zionist; was key to the establishment of the State of Israel by swaying the vote of Mexico during the resolution at the United Nations.
Eli, as everyone knew him, provided significant support to the State of Israel during the War of Independence, Six Day War and Yom Kippur War.
The Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv, the Sourasky Central Library at Tel Aviv University and Gan Yaackov named after his son Jay at the Habima Theater. In Jerusalem, The Elias Sourasky Archaeological Garden at the Museum of the Tower of David, the Tower in Mount Scopus Hebrew University in the name and memory of his son Jay Sourasky and The Ida Sourasky Student Dormitories at Mount Scopus among the many sites and institutions that he created and supported.
Sourasky's daughter Joan and her husband Jaime Constantiner, Leon ’s parents, were also benefactors of the Tel Aviv University, Beit Hatfutsot and many other Israeli cultural, medical and education initiatives with emphasis on the Holocaust.
León Constantiner and his wife Michaela have been longtime supporters of foundations and programs in Israel. In Tel Aviv, they created the Constantiner Photography Award for an Israeli Photographer at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
In Jerusalem, at the Jerusalem Cinematheque, they established The Joan Sourasky-Constantiner Jewish & Holocaust Cinema Foundation.
Since 2005, Leon and Michaela have endowed the Avner Shalev Award for Artistic Achievement for a Holocaust Related Film presented together with the Lia Award, in honor of Lia Van Leer, the founder of the Jerusalem Cinematheque. The two competitions comprised the “Jewish Experience” category at the Jerusalem International Film Festival. The directors of each of the thirty winning films received a monetary award and even more significantly, most of the films garnered global recognition by virtue of distribution to general as well as educational (non-commercial) audiences.
Yad Vashem salutes Leon and Michaela Constantiner for their commitment to perpetuating the memory of the Holocaust through their generous support of filmmakers, as well as to the Yad Vashem Visual Center.
The Sourasky-Constantiner Family has always expressed that they feel honored and grateful not only to work closely with Avner Shalev but to also call him a dear friend.