Ascendus, Inc.

This Way Up!

aka Ascendus   |   Manhattan, NY   |
GuideStar Charity Check

Ascendus, Inc.

EIN: 11-3317234


Ascendus empowers low- to moderate-income small business owners with access to capital and financial education.

Ruling year info


Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Paul Quintero

Main address

25 Broadway 10th Floor

Manhattan, NY 10004 USA

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Formerly known as

Accion USA

Accion East



Subject area info

Economic development


Population served info

Women and girls

Economically disadvantaged people

Self-employed people

NTEE code info

Economic Development (S30)

Management Services for Small Business/Entrepreneurs (S43)

Economic Development (S30)

IRS subsection

501(c)(3) Public Charity

IRS filing requirement

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

Tax forms



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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 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 debtmoving 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


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.

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 0.49 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 13.2 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 25% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Ascendus, Inc.

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Ascendus, Inc.

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Ascendus, Inc.

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Ascendus, Inc.’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation -$2,935,019 -$836,421 $564,094 $7,409,149 $2,294,267
As % of expenses -26.1% -9.5% 6.3% 96.6% 25.7%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation -$3,041,116 -$998,896 $399,344 $7,246,482 $2,169,526
As % of expenses -26.8% -11.2% 4.4% 92.5% 23.9%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $7,190,046 $7,058,220 $12,382,085 $14,588,685 $13,403,959
Total revenue, % change over prior year -22.0% -1.8% 75.4% 17.8% -8.1%
Program services revenue 37.1% 44.4% 24.8% 41.0% 23.8%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.1% 0.1% 0.1% 0.1% 0.2%
Government grants 29.5% 12.7% 13.4% 18.2% 3.5%
All other grants and contributions 33.4% 42.1% 59.3% 36.9% 69.4%
Other revenue 0.0% 0.8% 2.3% 3.9% 3.1%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $11,260,824 $8,782,629 $9,006,430 $7,671,345 $8,935,602
Total expenses, % change over prior year 46.7% -22.0% 2.5% -14.8% 16.5%
Personnel 41.8% 52.1% 47.6% 64.6% 61.4%
Professional fees 7.1% 6.0% 6.2% 6.4% 5.6%
Occupancy 5.2% 4.3% 3.4% 3.3% 3.0%
Interest 4.9% 4.7% 5.9% 7.0% 4.0%
Pass-through 24.6% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 16.4% 33.0% 36.9% 18.8% 25.9%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $11,366,921 $8,945,104 $9,171,180 $7,834,012 $9,060,343
One month of savings $938,402 $731,886 $750,536 $639,279 $744,634
Debt principal payment $0 $904,921 $0 $0 $8,025,193
Fixed asset additions $348,915 $0 $0 $183,948 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $12,654,238 $10,581,911 $9,921,716 $8,657,239 $17,830,170

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 7.1 2.0 16.8 32.5 21.7
Months of cash and investments 7.1 2.0 16.8 32.5 21.7
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 6.0 6.5 6.8 19.3 19.8
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $6,661,189 $1,453,589 $12,616,875 $20,758,618 $16,129,788
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Receivables $17,010,740 $19,657,044 $17,353,221 $21,075,262 $19,852,077
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $959,125 $976,013 $1,130,313 $1,314,262 $1,339,716
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 63.9% 77.8% 81.8% 82.7% 90.5%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 69.0% 75.2% 73.2% 64.2% 48.7%
Unrestricted net assets $5,936,301 $4,937,405 $5,336,749 $12,583,231 $14,752,757
Temporarily restricted net assets $1,562,752 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $1,562,752 $688,091 $3,491,699 $3,827,442 $6,001,532
Total net assets $7,499,053 $5,625,496 $8,828,448 $16,410,673 $20,754,289

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No


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

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Paul Quintero

Paul joined Ascendus as CFO in 2007 and was later selected to be CEO in 2011.  Under his leadership, almost every aspect of the organization has been positively impacted, including but not limited to the successful development and implementation of multi-year strategic plans; complete organizational rebranding; effective board recruitment, development and succession planning; creation and use of organization-wide, risk assessment tool; successful definition and cultivation of organizational values and culture; effective leadership and staff development; end-to-end process and technology improvements; dashboard reporting that enables real-time, data-driven decision-making; successful launch of several new products; ten years of consecutive lending growth from 2011 through 2020; and expansion of service footprint from New York City to all 50 states.  Paul was a CPA at Deloitte & Touche and earned his MBA in Finance at Columbia Business School where he was Robert A. Toigo Fellow.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Ascendus, Inc.

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

Ascendus, Inc.

Highest paid employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of highest paid employee data for this organization

Ascendus, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 03/28/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Ms. Laura Miller


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JJ Singh

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Shelley R Sylva

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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 3/28/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

Transgender Identity

No data

Sexual orientation

No data


No data


Fiscal year ending
There are no fundraisers recorded for this organization.