The time is now – to discern, reflect, comprehend and act
Author: Rida Mansoor
Unlocking Communities’ founder and CEO, Josh Goralski graduated from Loyola Chicago’s Masters in Social Justice Program with a specialization in Social Entrepreneurship in May 2019. While pursuing his degree, he wrote the business plan for Unlocking Communities, a global social enterprise founded on Catholic social teaching that provides communities with access to essential products such as water filtration systems and clean burning stoves.
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from your time at Loyola?
The most important or valuable lesson I’ve learned is how to put faith into action, and what it means to be a man and woman for and with others. How do we go out and integrate the Jesuit teachings into our everyday learnings and things like community organizing? Things that we talked about in our class translated into the everyday work that we do.
Why did you choose Loyola’s Institute of Pastoral Studies?
I chose Loyola because it was one of the only schools in the area that had a Master’s in Social Justice, and I had already done an undergrad in Nonprofit Management, but really wanted to deepen my theological learnings in the area of social justice. I had heard wonderful things from the graduates of the program.
My time at IPS was was foundational to my current success. The time spent in class to discern, reflect and understand how to build a social enterprise like ours, provided the bedrock for Unlocking Communities. We are a Catholic-informed organization, but not a Catholic organization. We don’t draw lines that separate people in communities based on religion. We are and continue to be a uniting and not a diving force.
What has been the most memorable part of your Loyola experience?
The most memorable part of my Loyola experience was getting a chance to sit around a table with the professor and fellow students and engage in conversation. It was an intimate class setting, and we would brainstorm around the conference table on what it means to organize communities. Felt very real and applicable to me.
What does Loyola’s Jesuit mission mean to you? How has it influenced your experience as an entrepreneur?
For me, the Jesuit mission means to men and women for and with others. I truly believe that this generation can see transformative change; I see movement towards issues like ending extreme poverty and want to motivate others by leading with example.
How did you come up with the noble idea of Unlocking Communities?
I came up with Unlocking Communities through a faith journey when I met a priest from Haiti. I’ve been involved in non-profit activities in Haiti since I was 8 years old. Hearing about his successes and lessons learned along the way was an enlightening path for me. Throughout graduate school, I had an opportunity to look at what is truly social justice and how social justice base models really put that computing power in the hands of communities.
What are your organization’s long and short-term goals?
Our short-term goals are to build a factory in Haiti that will reach provide clean water to over one and a half million people in the next five years. Our long-term goal is a focus on fundraising, allowing us to continue our mission-driven work in more countries.
Unlocking Communities’ core mission is to equip entrepreneurs with the education and tools to sell sustainable products that unlock economic, social, and environmental transformation. We are focused on improving health outcomes and environmental change by selling water filtration systems and clean burning stoves as our products.