Annual round-up fundraisers benefit this LGBTQ+ organization and other groups in the communities where the business has stores.

Aug. 26, 2022

Peace, love and Cool as a Moose. The tagline says it all and speaks to the Bar Harbor, Maine-based custom T-shirt design and gift shop’s commitment to supporting the community and charitable causes. For two seasons, Cool as a Moose has partnered with EqualityMaine with a “round up” initiative. Customers can choose to throw in extra change to bring their order up to a whole dollar amount or add a donation to the organization at checkout.

EqualityMaine is the state’s oldest and larger statewide organization dedicated to creating a fair and just society for the LGBTQ+ community. It organizes educational and advocacy efforts, while also collaborating with progressive groups to provide programming.

“We reached out to them because we were aware of all they do in Maine — and their work aligns with our mission of peace, love and Cool as a Moose,” says Ben Dunbar, co-owner with Kip Stone. “We always found that people from all walks of life come into our stores, and we identified fairly quickly that the LGBTQ community really enjoyed what we were doing and are supporting us in business, so we thought maybe we could give something back.”

Cool as a Moose raised $6,000 in 2022 and $6,200 in 2021 for EqualityMaine. The store has raised more than $25,000 since 2016, which includes all its round up efforts.

At its newest store in Provincetown, Massachusetts, check-out donations (there’s a SKU number) benefit Family Equality’s Family Week, the largest annual gathering of LGBTQ+ families in the world. “Similar to EqualityMaine, they go to bat for LGBTQ rights,” Dunbar says. Cool as a Moose has supported the group and its event since the store opening in 2018.

Additionally, the business holds round up programs for organizations like Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Bath/Brunswick Maine the city’s local Alzheimer’s Association.

“Any time there is a silent auction at a local school, we will donate,” Dunbar says, adding that Cool as a Moose has a big heart for giving back. Dunbar says, “We only exist because of the communities we are in and it’s important for us to support the people who live here year-round so they can keep doing what they do.”