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Sunny Fischer Named Winner of Daley Friend of the Neighborhoods Award
Driehaus Foundation director honored for personal and professional work in communities

CHICAGO (February 28, 2012) - Sunny Fischer, executive director of the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, is the recipient of the 2012 Richard M. Daley Friend of the Neighborhoods Award, presented at the 18th annual Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards (CNDA), managed by Local Initiatives Support Corporation Chicago (LISC Chicago).  The award honors city leaders who have made outstanding contributions to the quality of life in Chicago's neighborhoods, with a particular focus on community development, grassroots organization and economic strengthening. 

“Sunny's leadership work on issues of public welfare, historic preservation and the arts are too many to name,” said Susana L. Vasquez, executive director of LISC Chicago. “Sunny is a tireless advocate for improving neighborhoods, cities and individual lives.”

Raised in New York City's public housing, Sunny honed her skills with a college degree in English and a master's degree in social work. Sunny has used her upbringing and skills to fight for social justice throughout her long and distinguished career.

While best known for her work in design and architecture with the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Sunny has shared her skills and time with a number of community organizations.

An ardent defender of women's rights, Sunny was a founding mother of the Sophia Fund and the Chicago Foundation for Women. With a profound knowledge of and concern for the voices of the “unheard,” she founded the Neighborhood Writing Alliance and the Journal of Ordinary Thought, which provides underprivileged adults with a creative outlet to write and perform their works.  Always committed to telling the “peoples' history,” Sunny was a creator of the National Public Housing Museum, where she still serves as a board member, chief organizer and fundraiser of the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law.

Through her years at the Driehaus Foundation, Sunny has contributed to changing the way that neighborhood architecture is perceived and practiced.  In 1998, with the belief that good architecture enhances neighborhoods and improves the lives of the individuals who live and work in buildings, Sunny and Richard Driehaus initiated the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design, to be presented at the annual CNDA. 15 years later, the award continues to recognize and inspire a new standard for neighborhood architecture.

Sunny has served on the committees for the American Express Cornerstones of Community Award, the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Annual Honors Awards for Best Preservation Projects; and the Chicago Architecture Foundation's Patron of the Year Award. She has also served on the board of the Graham Foundation and twice on the panel for the National Endowment for the Arts design review. In 2010, Sunny was appointed chair of the board of the Illinois State Historic Preservation Agency by Governor Pat Quinn.

About CNDA

This year's ceremony, held at the Chicago Hilton & Towers, attracted more than 1400 people, including CNDA chair Wim Elfrink, executive vice president and chief globalization officer of Cisco, and leaders of Chicago's non-profit, corporate and philanthropic sectors.  A forum, following a fast-paced presentation style, was held prior to the award ceremony. Four city leaders from varying fields presented their five big ideas for making the 21st century city.

Established in 1995, CNDA recognizes outstanding achievements in neighborhood real estate development and community building, especially the achievements of community development corporations, other community-based organizations, and for-profit developers working to build healthier neighborhoods in the Chicago metropolitan area.  Local Initiatives Support Corporation Chicago (LISC Chicago) manages the awards, in keeping with its mission to combine corporate, government and philanthropic resources to help nonprofit community development corporations revitalize city neighborhoods. LISC Chicago has invested $179 million in local comprehensive development programs, leveraging an additional $4.7 billion in community investment from other sources. The result is 29,000 units of affordable housing, over 5 million square feet of commercial space, and a variety of social and economic development programs.

“Community development is a complicated business and requires the participation of many people and institutions - from neighborhood residents to government officials, corporate leaders, developers and architects,” said Susana L. Vasquez, LISC Chicago's executive director. “Our purpose at the Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards is to acknowledge and celebrate those individuals and organizations whose ingenuity and creativity make Chicago such a great city.”
This year's awards are generously underwritten by:

Allstate; Bank of America; BMO Harris Bank; Charter One; Chase; The Chicago Community Trust; Cisco; Citi; LISC/Chicago; Northern Trust; PNC; Polk Bros. Foundation; The Private Bank; The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation; State Farm; US Bank; Applegate & Thorne-Thomsen, PC; Brinshore Development; Camiros, Ltd.; Chicago Bears; Chicago Community Loan Fund; Cole Taylor Bank; Community Reinvestment Fund; Enterprise Community Investment, Inc.; Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago; Fifth Third Bank ; FirstMerit Bank; The Habitat Company; Holsten Real Estate Development; Illinois Housing Development Authority; MB Financial Bank; Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP; Matanky Realty; Miner, Barnhill & Galland, P.C.; National Equity Fund; Reznick Group; Teska Associates, Inc.; Urban Development Fund, LLC; Urban Partnership Bank; and The Walsh Group.

For more information, visit www.lisc-cnda.org.