Ascendus, Inc.

This Way Up!

aka Ascendus   |   Manhattan, NY   |  https://www.ascendus.org/

Mission

Ascendus(formerly Accion East) empowers low- to moderate-income small business owners with access to capital and financial education. As a result, our clients create and grow healthy enterprises and contribute to thriving local economies. Since 1991, Ascendus has provided more than $200 million to 25,000 small businesses owners across the country.

Ruling year info

1997

Principal Officer

Mr. Paul Quintero

Main address

80 Maiden Lane Suite 903

Manhattan, NY 10038 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Accion USA

Accion East

EIN

11-3317234

NTEE code info

Economic Development (S30)

Management Services for Small Business/Entrepreneurs (S43)

Economic Development (S30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Ascendus addresses the nationwide issue of wealth and income inequality by driving economic mobility and opportunity for populations with the least access to financial resources, including capital and financial education. Ascendus seeks to build the financial resiliency of small business owners so that they can be fully equipped to handle near-term challenges and achieve long-term self-sustainability and business success.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Small Business Lending

Our clients come to us because they need capital to grow or oftentimes simply survive: stock inventory, fix a broken machine, invest in new technology, hire an employee to keep up with demand or hold their business over during a slow season. Ascendus provides affordable small business loans ranging from $500 to $250,000 to small business owners. Our clients generate less than $250,000 in business revenue annually and have small capital needs. Our average loan size is just $12,000. Because 80% of our clients are minorities and immigrants, our lending approach is culturally sensitive and our program staff speak English, Spanish, Russian and Portuguese.

Our loans provide a safe means of establishing and building credit. Our products are tailored to the needs of our clients and are designed to ensure a high rate of repayment. We report payment histories to every credit bureau, thereby building a strong credit history for our clients and providing an opportunity for them to demonstrate their ability to successfully manage larger amounts of debt. Those that successfully pay back a loan improve their credit score by an average of 50 points and demonstrate the ability to handle debt—moving them one step closer to borrowing from traditional financial institutions.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Self-employed people

Ascendus program staff work with our clients to manage their cash flow, understand any credit problems, build a strong request for funding and learn about the financial and regulatory marketplace. We provide financial education to our clients at a very critical time—when they need a loan. This is crucial for developing long-lasting financial planning skills.

Those who ultimately receive a loan from Ascendus will receive approximately six hours of technical assistance over the life of that loan. This time matters—95% of clients who receive technical assistance report that their loan consultant helps them manage their small business better. Our holistic approach leads to the development of long-lasting, responsible repayment behaviors.

Additionally, Ascendus provides workshops to prospective and current borrowers covering credit repair, management of their finances, and how to position themselves to receive the type and amount of financing that will most meet their business needs.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Self-employed people

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of small business owners served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of dollars disbursed to small business owners

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Ascendus's long range goals over the next 5 years are to (1) grow our ability to meet demand for our small business loan products and financial education services for business owners in need across all of our markets; (2) increase our clients’ economic mobility and resiliency to survive and prevail in the near-term and future and (3) increase our organizational self-sufficiency to ensure we continue to grow our mission sustainably.

Ascendus' new strategic plan, approved by our board in Dec 2017, will advance our strategic goals through the following activities: 1) increase lending through a direct outreach strategy designed to complement our partnership outreach strategies; 2) introduce new financial products that meet the changing needs of our clients; and 3) expand our services into new geographic regions. Our Childcare Provider Support Initiative is a major element of the 1st prong of our strategic plan. All of our plans for growth are rooted in the needs of our clients. Their barriers to success and our desire to help them succeed determine our growth strategies, and the solutions we intend to offer.

We have a nearly three-decade track record of excellence and growth with a dedicated staff specialized in the provision of specialized, tailored financial education and loan capital. We have developed several special loan products designed to provide safe and appropriate alternatives to clients who need access to the capital that is required to start, stabilize, or expand their businesses.

Since inception, we have lent over $200 million to more than 22,000 businesses and provided more than 520,000 entrepreneurs with financial education services. Each year we serve small business owners nationwide, with a focus on serving small business owners in New England, New York, and Florida. We have offices in Boston, New York, Miami, and Orlando, and we reach 47 states through the internet.

In 2019, Ascendus provided 1,005 small business with $15 million in capital – $1.2 million more than we provided in 2018. This deployment represents over a decade high for the organization and the tenth consecutive year of increasing our reach. On average, we provided over $1 million per month in capital to small business owners.
Now in our 29th year, we’ve been recognized in numerous ways for our outstanding service to underserved business owners. We’ve received 5 consecutive Financial Assistance awards from the U.S. Department of Treasury totaling $7.3 million in the last five years to scale our mission. We were also the first CDFI to be sanctioned as a Microloan Program Lender across the entire Atlantic Coast by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). In 2016, we launched our new SBA Community Advantage Loan, and have since risen in the rankings to be the 11th most productive Community Advantage lender in the country. We’ve now been approved to provide Community Advantage loans across the entire east coast.

We will continue to execute on our 5-year strategic plan, both by deepening our impact in our core markets and expanding our programming among our broader geography. We will continue to prioritize meeting the needs of the hardest to reach by focusing on serving low-income, women, and minority small business owners.

Financials

Ascendus, Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Ascendus, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 11/17/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Dennis Lagueux

TD Bank

Roshelle Nagar

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

Michael Henry

KPMG LLP

Kimberly Johnson

KPMG LLP

Dennis Lagueux

TD Bank

Thomas McDermott

Cambridge Wilkinson

Mia Parker

Goldman Sachs

Cristina Shapiro

UNICEF USA

Gail Smith

Impacto Latin News, Inc.

Colleen Galvin

Citi

Lisa Servon

University of Pennsylvania

Tyler Van Gundy

Hunt Companies

Daniel Delehanty

Bridgehampton National Bank

Sudhir Jain

Citi

Laura Miller

JPMorgan Chase

Joseph Hernandez

TIAA

Jerry Weiss

Lone Wolf Risk Management Consulting

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/17/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data