2022 Mission Growth Through Innovation
Impact Innovation Inclusion Growth


In 2022, Ascendus focused on four key strategies to address the new challenges of our small business owners:

  • Impact: Shifted from just access to capital to include improved financial health to increase our positive impact on clients
  • Inclusion: Increasing inclusion for those most affected by the pandemic
  • Innovation: Innovating new offers to address the new challenges, and
  • Growth: Growing the organization through collaboration, inclusion, and innovation.

The shift to financial health reflected our understanding that financial inclusion was no longer enough. More than ever, our clients needed to be financially healthy, which we define as being resilient and able to access opportunities over time. To measure financial health, we spearheaded a new impact measurement framework to longitudinally measures our clients' progression across credit, cash flow, and financial health indicators. We are implementing the framework in 2023.

One lesson from the last two years is that the pandemic disproportionately and adversely impacted communities of color. For this reason, we increased the inclusion of women and entrepreneurs of color in our lending work. In 2022, Ascendus lent 78% of the capital made available to entrepreneurs of color, mostly Black and Latin American.

We innovated and launched three new offers to address the new challenges faced by small business owners.

  • First, we launched our "Line of Credit Program," a revolving, evergreen capital solution that provides access to capital when needed.
  • Second, we launched our "Rideshare Program," a unique solution for self-employed entrepreneurs offering delivery and transportation services, a group traditionally denied capital.
  • Finally, we launched the "Get Ready" Line of Credit Program, focused on Black business owners who would otherwise not qualify by providing a small line of credit that grows 10x within six months and can increase FICO credit scores by up to fifty points. The goal is to help Black business owners "get ready" to access significant future capital.

Ultimately, Ascendus grew its mission. In 2022, we:

  • Increased the capital deployed for small business owners to over $38.4 million (over twice our pre-pandemic level)
  • Increased our loan portfolio serviced by 52%
  • Increased our net assets by $4.4 million.

"My barn having burned down, I can now see the moon," wrote Mizuta Masahide, the 17th-century Japanese poet and samurai. Despite the infernal effects of the pandemic on business activity, followed by rising rents, inflation, increased interest rates, and labor shortages, our small business clients continued looking upward and forward to remain hopeful and resilient. Ascendus was lockstep behind them, guiding clients on their journeys.

Our vision of "financial ascension for all" served as our moonlight during the long, dark pandemic storm. Our strategic focus on impact, inclusion, innovation, and growth met the day's needs. With your continued support, we hope to continue adapting to future challenges as we guide our clients and our organization, 'This Way Up!'


Shifted from just access to capital to include improved financial health to increase our positive impact on clients

Small businesses served nationwide
Jobs created and saved
$0 million
Loan capital deployed
Hours of direct counseling to 1,156 individuals

The shift to financial health reflected our understanding that financial inclusion was no longer enough.

More than ever, our clients needed to be financially healthy: resilient and able to access opportunities over time.

To measure this, we spearheaded a new impact measurement framework to longitudinally measure clients' progression across credit and cash flow, and will implement this in 2023.

Always Keep Progressing,
Miami, FL

Created a new impact framework focused on financial health

Financial health measures the ability to access opportunity and be resilient over time, and is grounded in growing credit and cashflow, and financial health indicators.


Innovated new offers to address new challenges

The Get Ready Program: Developed better credit outcomes for Black entrepreneurs

Rideshare Loan: Provided a financial lifeline and security

$1.4MM to 105 rideshare drivers - 100% entrepreneurs of color

“It makes a world of difference to have someone believe in you.

Ascendus gave me resources, helped me build credit, and helped me prove that I could pay back a loan.”

Line of Credit: Our first revolving capital product

$1.3MM to 115 small business owners - 100% entrepreneurs of color

Reducing declination rates by 40% through the launch of a smart new scorecard


Increased inclusion for those most affected by the pandemic


of Color


Income Clients

We Served

“When the pandemic started and we lost the majority of our clients we didn't qualify for grants or loans as we were very small.

Ascendus believed in us and gave us a loan for us to invest in our company and help us pivot our business to launch three new products.”

Kikos Coffee and tea,

Creating in-house loan funds
for clients locked out of
COVID-19 support

$2.4MM to 112 small business owners through support from the CDFI Rapid Response Program and the state of Massachusetts

“I love Ascendus. They answered my questions right away, and they helped me so much when so many doors had closed for me.”

Little Steps Family Daycare

Supporting homebased
childcare for women

$1.5MM to 85 small business owners - 100% women entrepreneurs of color, who created 238 jobs

“I started off with a food truck. Now I have three restaurants. All because Ascendus gave me that first loan.”

Jamaica Mi Hungry,

Building safe and equitable restaurants

$644,000 to 16 small business owners deployed through the Restaurant Futures Loan Fund
“Capital access remains the most important factor limiting the establishment, expansion, and growth of minority-owned business.”
-U.S. Chamber of Commerce
In Black or Hispanic communities, most small businesses had fewer than 14 days cash buffer days on-hand


Only 31% of small businesses who applied for capital in 2021 received what they needed


40% of Black and 30% of Hispanic households are unbanked or underserved compared to just 12% of white households


Grew the organization through collaboration, inclusion, and innovation









Deployed 2.5 times the annual capital deployed before COVID-19

*Includes $5.9 million and $26.3 million in PPP lending in 2020 and 2021, respectively

“We are so grateful to Ascendus.

We hope to continue giving back as much as we can because of the help we have received.”

Max and Gladys
(SOAR recipients)

$25.6MM to 388 small
business owners

through regional Special
Purpose Vehicle Programs

Growth Through Collaboration: Designed and participated in regional Special Purpose Vehicle Programs. Grew our reach in the South and Pacific Northwest through programs such as The Southern Opportunity and Resilience Fund (SOAR), The Washington Flex Fund, and The Connecticut Small Business Boost Fund

$30.4MM and 981 loans to Black, Hispanic, or women small business owners

Growth Through Inclusion: Industry focus on childcare and restaurants through in-house loan funds.

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$2MM and 155 loans through new programs

Growth Through Innovation: Created new programs like the Line of Credit and Rideshare Programs.

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We hired and grew our team by 30%

We expanded to new geographies, and added new roles.


$5.6MM $8.8MM $16.4MM $20.8MM 2019 2020 2021 2022

Total net assets


Expenses attributed to program services


Delinquency rate

(excluding PPP loans, 30 DPD)






Total portfolio serviced

(before participations)

Thank You

Your support creates financial health for small business owners and jobs and services for their communities

Institutional Donors Individual Donors
Apple Bank Adam Grenier
Bank of America Charitable Foundation Alan Cody and Edith Moricz
Bank United Amy Hellen
Berman Aries Family Charitable Fund Andrew Epstein
Boston Beer Company Anonymous
Cambridge Savings Bank Aurelina Romero
Capital One Bank Barbara Romani
Clark Foundation Cheryl Myers and Steve Stockton*
Community Development Financial Institutions Fund Clara Diaz-Leal
Dime Community Bank Colleen Galvin*
Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation Cristina Shapiro*
Empire State Development Daniel Delehanty*
Goldman Sachs & Co. Diana Waterbury
HAB Bank Tyler Van Gundy
HSBC Bank USA Fabiana Estrada
Hyde & Watson Foundation Fazeela and Shameer Yasin
Investors Bank Charitable Foundation Gina Scime
JP Morgan Chase Foundation JJ Singh
Lawrence Foundation Jeanne Celestin
Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation Jerry and B Lynn Crane
MetLife Foundation Jerome Weiss*
Miami Foundation Jerry and B Lynn Crane
Mizuho USA Foundation Jessica Daniels and Paul Blackborow
Morgan Stanley Joel Abrams
Moses Kimball Fund Joseph Hernandez
New York City Council Kimberly Johnson
Paul and Edith Babson Foundation Laura Miller*
People's United Bank Leo Toca
Point23Health Foundation Lisa Servon
Popular Foundation Lynn Patinkin
Revolve Asset Management Mario Dore-Bernhard
Roy A. Hunt Foundation Marsha Tucker
Santander Bank Matthew Zlatnik
Schwab Charitable Fund Max Myers and Victoria Richardson*
Signature Bank Michael and Anne Marie Mlecko
Silicon Valley Bank Michael Carnahan
State Stox New York Mihai Vrasmasu
Sterling National Bank Myrna Sonora
TD Bank Nancy Atherton*
TD Charitable Foundation Pablo Cortina
TIAA Bank Patrick Peterson and Shirley Tsai
US Small Business Administration Paul and Marieta Quintero*
Valley Bank Paul Dominguez*
Vidda Foundation Paul Hunt*
Wells Fargo Foundation Perri Richmond*
William and Patricia Robbins Charitable Fund Richard Clarke*
Wilmington Trust Rodrigo Cerveira
Roshelle Nagar*
Selina Yasin
Sherry and David Cook*
Shirley and Timothy Blancke
Stephen Cassell
Steven Dinanno
Sudhir Jain
Sulondia Hammond
Suzanne and Paul Lipsky
Todd Flolo*
Victor Rodriguez
William Burrus
Zara Ingilizian

*Thank you to our recurring donors.

About Us

We believe in the Power of Up

Ascendus envisions a world of financial ascension for all. Our organization empowers low- to moderate-income (LMI) business owners with access to capital and financial education. With money and advice, small business owners have better access to opportunity, are more resilient in the face of adversity, and create opportunity for their employees, families, and the community. This Way Up!

4 Star Charity
CDFI Fund’s Financial Assistance (FA) Award
No. 1 Microlender for Volume of Loans

The Ascendus headquarters has moved! We are now located at

25 Broadway, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10004