Jim Brett is a disability rights advocate, serving as the Chairman of the President’s Committee on People with Intellectual Disabilities for Presidents Bush, Obama, and now Biden. Jim also serves as Chairman of the Massachusetts Governor’s Commission on Intellectual Disability and the Disabled Persons Protection Commission for the past 20 years. In addition to all of this amazing work, Jim makes time to serve on Rodman for Kids’ Board of Directors, offering his unique insight on how we can be a more inclusive organization.
The President’s Committee serves as a federal advisor to both the President of the United States and the Secretary of Health & Human Services on matters relating to people with intellectual disabilities. The President’s Committee is a meticulously selected group of 21 members who were chosen on account of their “diversity of America and include people with intellectual disabilities and their family members, researchers, service providers and other professionals, community and business representatives, and systems advocates” (WhiteHouse.gov). Jim will serve a 2-year term as Chairman of the President’s Committee on People with Intellectual Disabilities.
Jim first became involved with Rodman for Kids as a result of his close friendship with Rodman for Kids Founder, Don Rodman. “He was my mentor in so many ways…he was an inspiration to not only me, but to so many other people out there.” Jim met Don in 1981 as a new State Representative for Dorchester on the board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester. “I’m very lucky that I met him because he made my life more enriching because of that relationship and friendship.”
When discussing how his work on the President’s Committee impacts his role on the Rodman for Kids board, Jim said, “23% of the kids we help (at Rodman for Kids) are kids with disabilities. Rodman for Kids steps up to the plate.” Jim discussed how a large part of what he does on the Board is bringing his relationships and partnerships to the table and asking them to consider Rodman for Kids. “I just marveled how he (Don) spent his whole life finding ways of helping kids and raising money to make sure they had an opportunity to go to Disney World, had an opportunity to go see a play… What an extraordinary legacy that he earned throughout his life. Now that he’s passed, that legacy lives on.”