As we wrap up another holiday season and close out 2013, I took some time to reflect on our year at Bottleneck Management. Giving Thanks.

In the last 12 months we saw the addition of two new locations, which resulted in the opportunity to employ hundreds more hardworking, loyal people.  Howells & Hood and Old Town Pour House – Oak Brook were embraced by our patrons, and for that we are thankful.  In fact we have much to be thankful for as our coBottleneck Management logompany continues to grow.  I was taught early in life that being thankful is more than reflecting and counting your blessings though; my parents instilled in me a belief that to be truly thankful means to give back to those that have helped you along the way.  I have been fortunate to partner with two people who share this philosophy, so charity has always been a cornerstone of Bottleneck Management.


We realized shortly after opening The Boundary that we would not be able to help out everyone that approached us for a donation, so the ownership sat down to figure out an approach for giving back.  How would we try to make the biggest impact with our limited resources?  The guidepost that we came up with, and the philosophy we have embraced and instilled in our employees and investors is: If a cause is important to you and you believe in it, then we will do everything we can to support it.

We’ve had employees who have experienced personal crisis and challenge; this has led to multiple fundraisers for The American Cancer Society and other cancer-focused causes.  We have investors who are giving up time and energy to help Chicago public school children attend college, so Bottleneck Management supports The Posse Foundation.  My partners and I have causes that we personally find important, but the majority of our philanthropic direction comes from the people who work with us and our investment community.

Charity does not have to always come in the form of gift certificates or monetary donations.  Each year Bottleneck Management, along with our wives, children and extended Bottleneck family, participates in the Friends of the Parks Earth Day Clean-up that takes place in the Wicker Park and Bucktown neighborhoods.  It’s rewarding to see our children learning to give back and to see their excitement as they begin to realize they are making a small difference.

It’s hard to write a piece about charity and philanthropy without sounding like you are patting yourself on the back.  That is not the purpose of this blog.  In fact we do everything we can to give as anonymously as possible.  In writing this blog, our hope is that you will find a cause that you believe in and find a way to help them out.  It may mean donating a few of your hard earned dollars or giving up a few of your spare hours.  I can assure you that one is not more important than the other.  Find out what works best for you and act.

We will have more to be thankful for in 2014 and are looking forward to the new challenges and to the opportunity to continue to give back to the community as we grow.

-Nathan Hilding, CFO