Sunny Fischer was the executive director of The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation from 1992-2013.
Before working at the Driehaus Foundation, Sunny was executive director of The Sophia Fund, the first private women’s foundation in the country devoted exclusively to women’s issues. She is a co-founder of The Chicago Foundation for Women (she served as interim CEO/President from February 2019-May 2019), and an early leader and co-chair of the national Women’s Funding Network and Chicago Women in Philanthropy. From 1997-99, she was the director of the Chicago/Cook County Welfare Reform Task Force. She co-authored the 1982 study of Police Response to Battered Women’s Complaints and wrote the introduction to Women, Philanthropy, and Social Change: Journey to A Just Society, edited by: Elayne Clift, She also co-authored a study, “Navigating Rentry,” on how people released from prison re-enter the labor force. She was a teacher, a social worker counseling rape victims and abused women, and a researcher and evaluator.
Currently, Sunny works as a consultant to nonprofits and foundations. Her major volunteer effort is The National Public Housing Museum, where she chairs the board.
In her numerous other volunteer positions, Sunny has chaired several boards: Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, Futures Without Violence, on whose board she still servcs. Other current board and volunteer commitments include board membership of The Richard H. Driehaus Museum and Project; Art Production for Social Impact; the Advisory Council for the University of Chicago School of Social Services Administration; the arts committee for the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists and the colections and exhibit committee for the Illinois Holocaust Museum.
She has received numerous honors, most recently named as one of the 200 Prominent Illinoisans over 200 years, by the Chicago Sun-Times, and the University of Chicago's Alumnae Award for Leadership and Diversity. Other awards include: the Perlman Humanitarian Award from Jewish Women International; the LEAD award from the Women's Funding Network; the Point of Lightning Award from the National Center for Responsive Philanthropy; Friend of the Neighborhood Award from Local Initiative Support Corporation; and the Professional Grantor Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Sunny grew up in New York City public housing in the Bronx. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English from Hunter College of the City University of New York, and has a Masters degree from The University of Chicago School of Social Services Administration.
Learn more about the other speakers here.
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