Cboe's Johnny Pesenti Gives Back Through Renaissance Social Services

February 3, 2023

Johnny Pesenti is a 2022 Outstanding Community Service Award for his work with Renaissance Social Services, a Chicago-based nonprofit that focuses on housing homeless individuals and families and providing social services to families and individuals facing hardships.

Johnny Pesenti, Manager, Data and Analytics, was introduced to Renaissance Social Services about five years ago by Cboe’s Andy Lowenthal, Senior Vice President, International Strategic Development, who served as Renaissance’s president of the board of directors. 

“Andy was one of the first people I met when I started at Cboe and it quickly became apparent how passionate he was about providing support to people experiencing homelessness in Chicago,” Johnny says. “We both believe that homelessness stems from a lack of affordable housing, so I was eager to learn more about Renaissance and find a new a way to give back to my community.”

Andy invited Johnny to a Renaissance junior associate board meeting where he connected with other young professionals dedicated to educating the Chicago community about the causes of poverty and explaining how homelessness is a situational, preventable hardship. 

“Chicago is home, it’s my community,” Johnny says. “I wanted to help make a lasting impact by scaling my contribution, rather than making a single donation.”

Renaissance Social Services provides direct housing and support services to vulnerable populations experiencing homelessness through its multi-faceted approach. The organization offers permanent supportive housing, rapid re-housing, street outreach and homelessness prevention through emergency funding and payment vouchers. 

One of its unique programs is a free community space called The Living Room, a safe, comfortable atmosphere open 7 days a week to anyone experiencing a mental health crisis. Clients receive on-demand counseling from trained recovery therapists, recovery support and access to community resources.  

“People’s needs are vast and complex,” Johnny says. “One of the best things about Renaissance is it offers a range of support, from one-on-one services to holistic support for entire families so everyone can get exactly what they need.” 

Johnny’s role with the organization has evolved and expanded over the years. He is now co-chair of the associate board, which hosts fundraising events to raise awareness and funding that enables Renaissance to continue providing its services at no cost to clients. These donations go directly back into the community, providing resources like care packages, emergency housing funding and more. In 2023, Johnny plans to lead the associate board in increasing its corporate sponsorships. He hopes they can replicate the kind of vibrant corporate relationship Renaissance shares with Cboe with other companies in Chicago. Cboe has made several donations to Renaissance over the years and associates are frequent attendees at the organization’s events. Corporate donations go far in ensuring Renaissance’s core needs are met and the gaps from federal funding are filled. 

“It’s incredibly important to raise awareness about the need for housing in our communities if we want to create solutions,” Johnny adds. “Renaissance is already an incredible asset to our community but we’re just getting started.”

Johnny’s support of Renaissance Social Services is crucial to helping the organization achieve its mission: to change the lives of individuals and families in Chicago, giving them hope and a vision for a new life.