Sunny Fischer has worked as a philanthropic pioneer and domestic violence leader, beginning as an early domestic violence activist in Evanston, Illinois. She was the Executive Director of The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation from 1992—2013. She was a founding executive director of one of the first private women’s foundations in the country, the Sophia Fund, and was the co-founder of the Chicago Foundation for Women. At the Donors Forum and United Way in Chicago, she has led efforts to increase the philanthropic response to gender discrimination and poverty.
In the past Fischer has been a teacher, a researcher (she co-authored “All They Can Do: Police Response to Battered Women’s Complaints”), and a social worker. Numerous organizations have honored her for her work in philanthropy and women’s issues, including Jewish Women International, the Association of Fundraising Executives – Chicago Chapter, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, which gave her its “Point of Lightning” award and The Chicago Foundation for Women’s Impact Award.
Born in New York City, Fischer was educated at Hunter College of the City University of New York. Her master’s degree is from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Services Administration (SSA). A member of several other boards, she now chairs the board of The National Public Housing Museum and The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, a Governor’s appointment.