Community Lending

The coCare Initiative. 

A community-funded emergency micro-grant initiative covering the basic needs of vulnerable individuals in the Greater Toronto Area during COVID. 


The RBC Youth Summit in 2020 put forth the challenge to implement a solution for youth employment and/or economic recovery due to the impact of COVID-19.

As a response to economic recovery, UnCo. developed its sister brand The coCare Initiative—a community-funded micro-loan that allowed community members to support their neighbours in need directly. Community members would purchase a monthly membership model that contributed to a loan pool which would then be distributed to members in the community in need. UnCo’s goal was to develop a more compassionate and fair approach to short-term/payday lending.

Through the summit, UnCo. secured funding from Youthful Cities and RBC Foundations which supported the effort to ideate on the above-proposed solution.


An innovative pilot of community-funded emergency micro-grants that provided immediate financial support to individuals most in need.


Results from the pilot:


Total Funds Raised


Total Grants Given


Total Donations


Total Shares

The Process

Investigate the Problem

Through thorough research and analysis of the short-term lending and micro-lending market, we investigated all pain points and successes and applied this to our financial modeling.

While also working with community stakeholders, we conducted think tanks and interviews to understand the challenges and barriers that community members were directly experiencing. 

Build Test Iterate

We developed a visual brand identity, brand positioning, and both a website landing page and social media assets. In addition, we created wireframes for the loan application plus two dashboards— for the loan applicant/recipient and the community lender.

We created an automated CRM connected to the loan application and captured all loan applicants, which also tracked the distribution of the funds. Each loan applicant received a curated Community Resource Guide PDF we designed and published based on our community research.

At the height of COVID-19 with community feedback, we pivoted The coCare Initiative from micro-loans to emergency micro-grants.

Do Things, Tell People

We hosted an influencer giveaway campaign where we connected with ten high-profile influencers to encourage audience donations and action. At the end of our campaign, we successfully raised over $14,000 in funds (within 14 days), allowing us to give 46 micro-grants to community members in need.

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