Long before they opened Bassano Cheesecake Café in Safety Harbor five weeks ago and became nominated for Creative Loafing’s Best of the Bay, Tom and Cindy Bassano made part of their mission statement to give back to their community. Every month, Tom and Cindy Bassano donate a portion of Bassano Cheesecake’s proceeds to a locally selected charity.

In August, the couple chose the Gramatica Family Foundation, a local charity founded in 2012 by retired Tampa Bay Buccaneer, Martin Gramatica, that builds homes for combat-wounded veterans. When they learned that the pandemic canceled the nonprofit’s primary annual fundraiser, they knew they wanted to do more than a single donation.

“We felt in our hearts that we had to do more.  Though Covid-19 stopped their fundraiser, the critical shortage of housing for our injured veterans has not ended. The Gramatica Family Foundations stepped in to build homes for these amazing men and women who were wounded in the line of duty,” said Tom. “The Gramatica Family Foundation does a kickball tournament every year, and we wanted to be a part of it this year and WIN. Unfortunately, the safety restrictions of Covid-19 have hurt many charities because they survive off these types of events, and social distancing made having this fundraising tournament impossible.”

Tom and Cindy brainstormed ideas with their marketing team and settled upon a fun online fundraiser.

“We’re doing a raffle for an incredible basket filled with lots of goodies from our community and us,” said Cindy. “While we have donated cheesecake and other sweet treats to this raffle basket, it’s only a small incentive to participate. We were only able to achieve this important goal with the help of generous donations from supporters and business community members.”

Upon reaching out to businesses in the community, The Tiki Tavern, Polished Nail and Skincare, Amici’s Catering, Paradise Restaurant, and Joffrey’s Coffee immediately answered the call to help and signed up as gift basket sponsors.

Through August, businesses can donate goods, services, and gift cards, and supporters can purchase raffle basket tickets directly on the website in increments of $5, $10, $20, and $50.

In return for a sponsorship, the business’s logo and its website link are prominently-featured, highlighted on the raffle page and in their August social media campaign.

“Every tax-deductible donation, no matter the size, takes us one step closer to achieving our goal,” said Tom. “The more raffle tickets we sell, the more we can give to the Gramatica Family Foundation in September.”

To learn more or to become a sponsor, visit bassanocheesecake.com, or email cjb@bassanocheesecake.com. To buy raffle tickets for a chance to win the basket, visit https://bassanocheesecake.com/basket-raffle/.