Island Elderly Housing (IEH) began in 1977 to serve the growing need for affordable housing and services for elders and disabled people on Martha’s Vineyard. Today, the organization oversees 165 apartments in 18 buildings on four campuses across the Island.

But according to leaders of the organization, very few people even know it exists.

A group of musicians is trying to change this with a benefit and awareness concert at the Tabernacle on Friday, June 30 called Songwriters for Island Elderly Housing.

“Martha’s Vineyard really needs these services, especially with such a large elderly population,” said Kate Taylor, a co-organizer and performer for the event. “I thought doing something like this would be important for Island Elderly Housing’s visibility. It needs our support and I hope this concert brings that.”

Jeanna Shepard

The concert will be performed “in the round,” a Nashville-born style, also known as a “guitar pull,” that requires musicians to sit together on stage, performing their original work one after the other.

“It’s really a lot of fun,” Ms. Taylor said. “Everybody pulls out their best material and everybody inspires everybody else. It is such a nice way to play and hear music as a community.”

Ms. Taylor will be joined onstage by co-organizer Jemima James, an IEH board member. Singing beside them will be Ms. Taylor’s nephews Ben and Isaac Taylor and fellow Island songwriters John Fortè, Chadwick Stokes, Willy Mason, Lexie Roth and Rose Guerin.

The concert’s third organizer is Laurie David. Author Geraldine Brooks and comedian Amy Schumer will speak at the benefit.

“I love having the support from the community for this event,” said Dorothy Young, executive director of IEH. “We don’t usually get attention like this. We’re here but we’re quiet. We’ve been quietly housing people on the Island for almost 50 years.”

Fundraisers are rare for IEH as it only holds them when there is a specific goal in mind, Ms. Young said. The organization is federally funded to subsidize rent for its residents, but providing additional amenities such as meal programs and community gardens require outside grants and fundraising.

Island Elderly Housing received a grant from the West Chop Community Fund at the beginning of this month for one portable generator to use during power outages. The generator powers necessities such as oxygen tanks and refrigeration for medication, but it must be shared among the organization’s buildings. Money from the concert will go towards automatic generators for each of the buildings as part of a larger emergency plan to provide its 172 residents with guaranteed safe shelter during power outages.

“Since we’ve become so big, the fire station wants us to become more self-sufficient,” Ms. Young said. “For us to get that grant and be able to have a portable generator is tremendous. This will improve our residents’ lives so much already, but automatic generators would make a real difference.”

The organization created an emergency plan with the help of the Tisbury and Oak Bluffs fire departments, which typically outfit the Edgartown and Oak Bluffs schools with cots during power outages. Automatic generators allow residents and their pets to shelter in place. The benefit has already sold close to 400 tickets and raised $46,500 during its three weeks of advertising through social media and posters. But this is a small fraction needed for the $1 million generator project.

Singer-songwriter Jemima James is an IEH board member and will also perform at the fundraiser. — Jeanna Shepard

“This concert will be a good spotlight for wealthy and summer people on the Island who probably don’t know [IEH] exists and could support it in the future,” said Ms. James. “It’s also exciting because it’s a group of musicians who don’t ordinarily play together.”

Island Elderly Housing’s 13 employees and seven board members will volunteer as ushers and organizers, and the residents are all invited to attend the concert free of charge.

“It’s all hands on deck,” Ms. Young said. “But we all love it. We love what we do, and we love the residents. It’s challenging, but it’s rewarding, and I think the residents will really enjoy the concert. I hope everyone else does, too.”