The John Joseph Moakley Charitable Foundation awarded James T. Brett, president and CEO of The New England Council, with its Moakley Public Service Award at the Foundation’s 11th Annual Scholarship Award Ceremony on Monday, June 11, 2012, at Suffolk University Law School. The ceremony marked the11th anniversary of the death of Congressman Joe Moakley.

The Foundation presented more than $110,000 in scholarships to students pursuing higher education at the undergraduate or graduate level and vocational students. “In the months before his death, the John Joseph Moakley Charitable Foundation was established to continue the extraordinary public service legacy of Congressman Moakley, whose career spanned nearly 50 years and who had long championed improving educational opportunities for all people,” said Frederick Clark, president of the Moakley Foundation.

James McCarthy, president of Suffolk University, congratulated Brett for “his outstanding dedication to public service,” and lauded the Moakley Foundation for carrying on "Joe Moakley's legacy of public service and commitment to access to educational opportunity."

Brett was a Massachusetts State Representative for more than 15 years before joining The New England Council in 1996. He is chairman of the Governor’s Commission on Intellectual Disability and in 2011 was appointed by President Barack Obama to chair the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. He also served as co-chair of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health Inpatient Study Commission.

Brett has been honored with several awards for his advocacy for the disabled, including the Action for Boston Community Development’s Lifetime Public Service Award, the Massachusetts Special Olympics’ Distinguished Leadership Award, and the Hospice of Boston’s Humanitarian of the Year Award. In 1996, Bay Cove Human Services of Boston named a new community home for disabled adults "Brett House" in his honor.

He holds master in public administration degrees from Suffolk University and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

The ceremony took place on Monday, June 11, at Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont St., Boston, which is the home of the John Joseph Moakley Archive and Institute.