Giving back

I was truly honoured to learn I had been selected as the recipient of the first-ever Canadian REALTORS Care® Award because I know from first-hand experience how much amazing philanthropic and humanitarian work is done by so many of my fellow REALTORS® across our country.

REALTORS® like my friend Bruce Johnson of RE/MAX Wasaga Beach who raised $100,000 for the SickKids Foundation by riding his motorcycle with his daughter Holly from Canada to Costa Rica, in memory of his daughter Alyssa Rae who passed away when she was three weeks old. His family’s journey will make a difference for children treated at SickKids in Toronto and has inspired others, including fellow REALTOR® Trudy Wilson in Bridgenorth, Ontario, who has taken on her own fundraising challenge and will be swimming the Trent Canal System this summer to raise money for SickKids.

There is no shortage of heart-warming stories like these in our profession. We REALTORS® are lucky to be able to make real change for the people around us.

It was special for me to see my hometown of Thunder Bay on a national stage as a result of the REALTORS Care® award. I love living and working in Thunder Bay, because our city has a giant heart. You can see its giving philosophy reflected across the city. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by likeminded people who want to make a change for the better.

I admit, sometimes it’s a challenge to balance my real estate business and my charity work. As a result, I don’t get a lot of sleep. My involvement with the local hospital, Camp Quality and other charities definitely helps put things into perspective and reminds me of what’s important in life. It brings to mind a quote from one of my favourite books, Oprah’s What I Know For Sure:

When you make loving others the story of your life, there’s never a final chapter, because the legacy continues. You lend your light to one person, and he or she shines it on another and another and another. And I know for sure that in the final analysis of our lives – when the to-do lists are no more, when the frenzy is finished, when our email inboxes are empty – the only thing that will have any lasting value is whether we’ve loved others and whether they’ve loved us.”

People often ask me how to get started with charity work. My advice is to pick a cause that you feel passionate about, ideally something you have a personal connection to – then just get started. Whether it’s an hour of volunteer time, sharing one of your talents with others or providing support financially, whatever you have the means of giving. Forget about accolades and brand recognition. In my experience, the true rewards come from the great people you’ll meet and the experiences you’ll have working together to make a difference for others.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Vince Mirabelli is an inspiring example of a REALTOR® giving back to his community. For more great stories, visit

Are you involved in a charitable initiative? Let us know all about it by sending all the details to so we can help spread the word and raise awareness for the cause.

Vince Mirabelli of RE/MAX First Choice Realty Ltd. Brokerage in Thunder Bay was named the inaugural recipient of the Canadian REALTORS Care® Award for his outstanding contributions to his community. He has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for an array of local charities. In 2005, he personally kick-started an annual gala fundraiser for the Northern Cardiac Fund of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation. In 2009, he established the Vince Mirabelli Paediatric Endowment Fund, which he aims to grow to $1 million in his lifetime.

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