Juli Brooks Leete heads a new nonprofit foundation that aims to raise enough funds to reopen the Oak Harbor Pool this year. The North Whidbey Community Pool & Recreation Foundation’s first donation drive will be Wednesday, Feb. 14. Photo by Megan Hansen/Whidbey News-Times.

Juli Brooks Leete heads a new nonprofit foundation that aims to raise enough funds to reopen the Oak Harbor Pool this year. The North Whidbey Community Pool & Recreation Foundation’s first donation drive will be Wednesday, Feb. 14. Photo by Megan Hansen/Whidbey News-Times.

New nonprofit raising funds to reopen community pool

An army of volunteers will be out Wednesday in the Oak Harbor community collecting donations with the sole purpose of getting the community pool reopened.

The newly formed North Whidbey Community Pool & Recreation Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded in November, is spearheading the efforts.

Juli Brooks Leete, a self-proclaimed professional volunteer, is heading the foundation and the fundraiser.

Brooks previously worked on successfully passing Oak Harbor school levies and said she knew the community needed to step up after the levy failed in November.

“I knew I could make a difference, so I came out of retirement,” Brooks Leete said. “There’s no reason we can’t come out of this stronger and better.”

“There’s been an outpouring of support,” she added.

“I have an army who will help.”

On Wednesday, a couple dozen locations will have small children’s swimming pools set up to collect donations.

The pools are donated, of course, from foundation members’ backyards.

These businesses include grocery stores, real estate agencies, restaurants, retails stores and salons.

The idea is to hold the fundraiser for 14 hours on Feb. 14.

“This is going to be fun,” Brooks Leete said. “And people don’t have to donate that day.”

An account has been set up and donations can be made to any Whidbey Island/Heritage Bank.

The foundation’s purpose is to educate and inform the public about the state of the pool and the need for money after the levy failed twice in 2017.

The members want to support, educate and reduce the taxpayer burden and to facilitate aquatic programs and recreation.

“Everywhere I go, people in town say they want the pool back,” Brooks Leete said. “It’s invigorating.”

The goal is to raise $200,000 to open the pool when school gets out and to keep it open until a levy can support the pool once again, she said.

The foundation will track the progress publicly with a sign located at the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce.

This will be the first of many fundraisers in the coming months.

And soon, the foundation will be writing grant application “until their fingers bleed.”

An adviser to the group, Alli Paul, has been instrumental in helping get all the “I’s” dotted and “T’s” crossed for the foundation’s nonprofit status.

The work she’s doing now may not necessarily benefit her own children, she said, but she sees the work as building something for a better future.

The foundation has started an official Facebook page under “North Whidbey Community Pool & Recreation Foundation.”

Go to the Facebbook page to learn more about the foundation and future fundraisers and to get involved.

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