A lot has been said and written about the financial struggles facing PASS during the global pandemic.  I would like to address this situation for our local users in the northern Ohio area who are rightfully concerned about the future of their local user group.

Before I do, please be aware that this post has not been reviewed by nor approved by any member or leader of the Ohio North SQL Server User Group or PASS.  All opinions are strictly my own.


Our local user group is the PASS Local Group for Northern Ohio.  PASS, as an organization, is facing financial difficulties due to their main fundraiser, PASS Summit, being canceled as an in-person event.  Their ability to continue to function is in some amount of doubt.

I don’t want to fan the divisive flames about this topic, but I have to mention one thing.  In the below paragraphs I’m going to detail how our UG can continue operations with or without PASS.  I’ve read it and reread it and if it seems callous, it isn’t meant to be.  PASS is a valuable organization.  Given the choice between having our UG continue without PASS or having PASS continue without the for-profit event management organization, C&C, attached to its hip, I would choose the latter.  I also don’t mean any ill will towards C&C or its people.

How does the financial strength of PASS affect our UG in Greater Cleveland?

In short, it doesn’t.  Our UG is a separate legal entity from PASS.  We are incorporated as Ohio North Database Training, Inc and are fully financially insulated from any issues that might inhibit PASS.  Our UG has enough cash in reserve to weather this storm even with our main fundraiser, an all-day training event each February, likely canceled for 2021.

What does PASS do for our local UG?

We depend on PASS for certain technology and marketing support along with some smaller financial contributions.  Our email and website are provided by PASS.  PASS provides mentorship to our leaders.  We offer our annual all-day training event under the banner of PASS SQL Saturday with the name, website, a modest financial contribution, and certain logistical support provided by PASS.

What would happen to our local UG if PASS ceased to operate?

The leaders of our local UG have discussed this possibility.  For starters, we would continue to meet monthly and continue to offer the great training, networking, and dinner – once we are able to meet in person again – that you’ve come to enjoy.

We would create our own website and email accounts.  We would utilize 3rd party services and utilities like Sessionize, Meetup, and/or EventBrite to hold our annual training event with a new name, but all the same content you’ve come to love.

The leaders of your UG remain in touch with leaders of neighboring groups and would work with them to cross-promote events.

You said SQL Saturday Cleveland 2021 is likely canceled?  How likely?  What about 2022?

It is extremely likely there will not be a SQL Saturday 2021 for Cleveland.  The UG leaders are preparing as if the event cannot happen.  It would take something drastic to happen with the pandemic (and soon) to change that.  It is our plan and our hope to come back with a monster event in 2022 using whatever technology is available to us.

Final Thoughts

The end of PASS as an organization would be sad, but would not involve a significant change for the day-to-day operations of our local UG.

I’ve seen many people write about how much PASS has meant to them and their careers.  While I don’t disagree with them, the bigger and more meaningful group for me as a person and as a professional has been #SQLFamily.  This whole thing could go sideways and PASS could cease operations.  That’s pretty much out of our hands.  But I suspect it will take a lot more than that to end the positivity brought about by #SQLFamily.  And that is in our hands.

Until we see each other again at a PASS event or something entirely new, stay safe out there.

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