Eric Arruda

Realtor gives ShareLife share of his commissions

  • March 4, 2016

TORONTO - Eric Arruda was sitting in the pews of St. Clare Church when a pamphlet for the Family of Faith campaign caught his eye. On the bottom of the pamphlet he read a passage from St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians, “So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.”

Arruda, 31, a Toronto realtor, had been looking for a way to give back to his community, and in that moment, an idea struck him: maybe he could donate 25 per cent of his commissions to ShareLife and other parishes in need.

“I used to use that (as a) prayer card and then it just sort of stuck in me after saying it 30 times,” said Arruda of St. Paul’s letter. “I wanted to help out my community. I want to work with other Catholics to build friendships and to help them give back to the community.”

Arruda has been a sales representative for CENTURY 21 Regal Realty Inc. Brokerage for two years. He chose ShareLife as the main benefactor for his donations because of the organization’s support for a wide spectrum of initiatives that help people from across the city. ShareLife supports initiatives from family services to immigrant and refugee services, services for the elderly and education of the clergy.

“It’s such a broad scope of people that they help and it touches many people,” he said. “I just think ShareLife is a good starting point to spread the wealth really quickly across the community and the city.”

ShareLife was established in 1976 by Archbishop Philip Pocock as an annual fundraising appeal for the Archdiocese of Toronto. The money raised every year supports social services and agencies that reflect Catholic values. This year, ShareLife celebrates 40 years supporting 40 agencies and grant recipients that serve about 114,000 people in the region.

As a former seminarian at St. Philip’s Seminary in Toronto, Arruda said he saw first-hand how seminarians benefited from ShareLife’s generosity.

“A few of the seminarians were from Serra House and it really helped them out,” he said. “It was good formation for them to be all together in one house and I think it’s a worthwhile thing to give back.”

Last year, ShareLife contributed more than $1.6 million toward the education of clergy. Those funds supported Toronto’s St. Augustine’s Seminary, Serra House and Redemptoris Mater Seminary.

When he entered St. Philip’s Seminary in 2003 at the age of 19, Arruda said he enjoyed the kind of formation he had with other seminarians. He studied philosophy there for two years before he decided to leave the seminary, seeing marriage as his vocation.

Now a happily married father of two children, Arruda said he is still seeking faith-filled friendships, but it’s not something he had been getting through his work as a realtor. When he read the Family of Faith pamphlet in December, he realized that promoting his 25- per-cent commission donations could be an opportunity for him to attract more Catholic clients.

“Because when you’re a realtor, you really become friends with the people you work with because you’re searching for a house for a month, two months, two years sometimes and you become really close friends,” he said. “I was thinking that a good way to meet people is by making them my clients and then becoming friends... I’m not really a church hall mixer type of person.”

Arruda worked in financial services for eight years before finding a passion in real estate. He said what he enjoys most is meeting new people almost every day. It’s the same thing that once attracted him to the priesthood.

“You build friendships with people and you go shopping with people and you learn everything about them,” he said. “It’s not as close as being a priest and hearing people’s confessions, but you still get to the nitty gritty of people’s lives.”

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