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Before she became a Broadway great, Audra McDonald survived a suicide attempt.

Content warning: discussion of suicidal thoughts and actions.

Audra McDonald is one of the greatest performers of our time. Full stop.

A venerated actress, spellbinding singer, and consummate performer, McDonald is a six-time Tony Award winner, the most of any individual, and the only person to earn the coveted trophy in all four acting categories. To say nothing of her television and film roles and her resistance-ready Twitter account, this is a woman with some serious talent.

But like many great performers, McDonald's path to success wasn't easy.

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When non-essential businesses in NYC were ordered to close in March, restaurants across the five boroughs were tasked to pivot fast or risk shuttering their doors for good.

The impact on the city's once vibrant restaurant scene was immediate and devastating. A national survey found that 250,000 people were laid off within 22 days and almost $2 billion in revenue was lost. And soon, numerous restaurant closures became permanent as the pandemic raged on and businesses were unable to keep up with rent and utility payments.

Hot Bread Kitchen, a New York City-based nonprofit and incubator that has assisted more than 275 local businesses in the food industry, knew they needed to support their affiliated businesses in a new light to navigate the financial complexities of shifting business models and applying for loans.

According to Hot Bread Kitchen's CEO Shaolee Sen, shortly after the shutdown began, a third of restaurant workers that they support had been laid off and another third were furloughed.

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