The DJ Henry Dream Fund is holding a Comedy for a Cause with Late Night host and seasonal resident Seth Meyers at the Tabernacle on Thursday, August 5, to raise money for Island youth programs.
The Dream Fund honors Danroy “DJ” Henry Jr., who was shot and killed by a police officer in Pleasantville, N.Y., in 2010. In an effort to create something positive out of that tragedy and to honor their son and brother, the Henry family established the Dream Fund to provide financial support to Massachusetts children between the ages of 5 and 18 to participate in community-based programs such as sports, performing arts, and summer programs.
Speaking to The Times by phone, Angella Henry, DJ’s mother, said this is the first Dream Fund event to be held on Martha’s Vineyard. The idea came from one of Henry’s friends. Recognizing that many fundraising events are held on the Island, the Henrys wanted to make sure money that was raised on the Island stayed on the Island to be used for Island youth programs.
The Henry family began coming to Martha’s Vineyard 18 years ago, but it wasn’t until 2009 that they began to come regularly. Now the Henrys have two properties on the Island and spend six to eight months a year here.
“We just fell in love with the community, the people, and the natural beauty that the Island has to offer,” Henry said.
In the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer last year and summer protests against police brutality, Henry said there’s been a resurgence of people learning about her son. “Some people that didn’t know about him have learned so much about his heart and the way he helped and supported people and his love for Martha’s Vineyard,” Henry said. “We’ve seen people make donations and spread the word about the foundation and this is just an accumulation of all of that.”
Getting Seth Meyers for the event came from a conversation with Henry’s close friend and Meyer’s mother-in-law, Joanne. Meyers also hosted Martha’s Vineyard Community Services Possible Dreams auction on July 24.
“We had been talking one day on a walk and she said ‘hey why don’t we see if we can do something together on-Island that would have an impact. Seth loves the Island, he loves to support local organizations, this is like a perfect match,’” Henry said. “We’re grateful that he’s doing this for us, it’s a big deal, he’s such a huge name and has a great draw, but on top of that he has a huge heart filled with a lot of compassion.”
Comedy for a Cause is on Thursday, August 5, at the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs. Tickets are $45 for pre-sale and $50 for day of general admission, $100 for special seating, and $200 for premium front row seats and a meet and greet after the show. Tickets can be purchased through the Dream Fund website at bit.ly/dreamfundmeyers.
“I’m sure we’ll have lots of belly laughs that night,” she said. “We’re so grateful for the love and support that we’ve received on the Island and we just want to continue to help however we can. It’s such a special place and we love everything about it. I just want to do what we can to be supportive of the community and the kids there.”