The year 2012 marked Sunny Fischer’s twentieth year as Executive Director of The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. Working with Richard Driehaus, Fischer has made the Driehaus Foundation a local and national leader in promoting the connection between historic preservation and neighborhood vitality. She has also led the Foundation in its forceful advocacy of the growing movement of public interest design.
Richard Driehaus marked the anniversary by saying, “Our Foundation strives to support new ideas to make real change in people’s lives. Both for individual, social, and economic well-being and to contribute to a healthy, strong community.
“This also describes the spirit of our Executive Director,” he said. “Sunny's leadership on issues of historic preservation, public welfare and the arts are too many to name. She is an ardent voice for social justice and a tireless advocate for improving neighborhoods, cities and individual lives. She not only embodies the spirit of the Driehaus Foundation, she has helped it mature and grow. She has put the Foundation on the map and helped us make a profound difference that has exceeded all my expectations.”
Before coming to work at the Driehaus Foundation, Fischer served as the Executive Director of the Sophia Fund, one of the first private women’s foundations in the country. From 1997 to 1999, she was the executive director of the City of Chicago/Cook County Welfare Reform Task Force.
Over the years, Fischer has volunteered on many boards. She was also the co-founder of the Chicago Foundation for Women, the Neighborhood Writing Alliance, and the National Public Housing Museum. She served on the board for the Graham Foundation and the Donors Forum. Currently, she serves on the boards of the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, The Richard H. Driehaus Museum, the National Public Housing Museum, and of Futures Without Violence. In 2010, Governor Pat Quinn appointed Fischer chair of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. She is also on the advisory committee of the Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in Arts and Media at Columbia College, Chicago.
Fischer earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from Hunter College of the City University of New York, and her Masters of Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago.