Announcing our 2016 SQL Server Training Scholarship Winners

That heart means something.
We’re serious about the heart thing.

Thanksgiving is the perfect day for us to give back to the community that has given so much to us.

Our SQL Server Training Scholarship program applications were open to folks anywhere in the world working with SQL Server for foundations, non-profits, charities, or other similar companies making a real difference in the world today.

We originally aimed for 25 winners, but with over 300 applicants – many with really eye-opening stories – we ended up with several more than that. We’re not going to name individuals here, but they’re welcome to chime in in the comments if they’d like. Instead, we’re going to share just some of the winning organizations that opened our eyes and made us thankful today:

STARS is a not-for-profit air ambulance service that offers time, hope, and life-saving transport to critically ill and injured patients in Canada. Their VIP Stories – Very Important Patients – will make you pause and be thankful for all the first responders who are there to take care of you.

The International Justice Mission is a global organization that protects the poor from violence in the developing world. Their team of hundreds of lawyers, investigators, social workers, and community activists work by rescuing victims, bringing criminals to justice, restoring survivors, and strengthening justice systems. They fight slavery, sex trafficking, sexual violence, police brutality, property grabbing, and citizens rights abuse. They’ve rescued more than 23,000 people from violence and oppression.

The Wilderness Society protects Australia’s wilderness and promotes nature. Since their forming in 1976, they’ve kept resorts from building atop reefs, stopped uranium mining in a wilderness sanctuary, and enabled legal protection for new national parks and reserves.

The American Library Association believes that everyone needs equal access to information, especially those with literacy-related barriers, economic distress, cultural or social isolation, physical barriers, and more. They actively defend the privacy and right of library users to read, seek information, and speak freely. (But not loudly, I guess.)

The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation started over 25 years ago as 3 moms around a kitchen table. Elizabeth Glaser contracted HIV in a blood transfusion while giving birth to her daughter, Ariel. Both Ariel and Elizabeth lost their battle with AIDS, but the foundation they started lives on, working in 14 countries to eliminate pediatric AIDS through research, advocacy, prevention, care, and treatment programs.

The American Institute of Physics advances and distributes the knowledge of physical sciences and its applications, and promotes the physical sciences to the public, leaders, government, and the media.

The YMCA Twin Cities in Minneapolis puts Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all. (I grew up attending YMCA classes myself.)

Mercy Corps helps people survive and get back on their feet when natural disaster strikes, economies collapse, or conflict erupts. They’re 4,000 people in more than 40 countries, and the organization has no political or religious agenda.

The Migrant Education Program helps Washington migrant students get through and graduate high school, then go on to further education and productive employment.

Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri offers birth control, HPV vaccination and screening, exams, HIV and STD testing, and more health services. They give individuals the power and ability to take control of their lives, their health, and their future.

Catholic Health Services of Long Island has been ranked one of the best cardiac care hospitals in the nation for 9 years in a row. Their 17,000 employees handle over 81k admissions, 5k newborn deliveries, and hundreds of thousands of emergency visits and outpatient visits.

WaterAid is a UK organization working to stop the second biggest child killer worldwide – diarrhea caused by dirty water and bad sanitation.

Feros Care supports Australian seniors to live their best life in aged care. They want seniors to remain living healthy, independent lives, connected to their family, friends, and the community for as long as possible.

The American Red Cross responds to disasters, supports America’s military families, and manages blood drives, and in high school, they taught me CPR and first aid.

El Rio Community Health Center in Tucson, Arizona is one of the largest non-profit community health centers in the US. They provide medical services, dentistry, midwifery, and specialized care to over 900 people per day, most of which live at or below the federal poverty level.

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is a publicly funded health care system going through a serious financial crisis, possibly to be averted in the coming weeks. While paychecks are probably safe for now, the training budgets probably aren’t, as evidenced by many scholarship applicants from the NHS.

When you read stories like these, it’s really hard impossible to pick tiers of scholarships. (Heck, I started writing this post saying I’d only mention a few of the winners, and I couldn’t even stop there.) So forget prioritizing them.

This year’s winners, as chosen by staff voting, all receive:

  • 18 months access to all our training videos, free
  • Free registration to any of Brent’s SQLSaturday pre-cons through 2016
  • $995 seats in any of our 2016 5-day training classes

As SQL Server consultants and trainers, it’s hard for us to make a meaningful difference in the world. This feels like an important first step on a good journey to reward those who are doing such good work.

Thank you.

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24 Comments. Leave new

  • Absolutely says it all, “Thanksgiving is the perfect day for us to give back to the community that has given so much to us.”

    Really doesn’t need me to say but very well done!!! I’m sure it will inspire many people to stop and think about how they can do similar, no matter how small a gesture they think it might be, it all counts!

  • OMG!!!!! My dream came true….So THANKFUL for this and all you do. Exciting stuff!!!!!!!

  • Congratulations to the winners. It’s great seeing help given to those that needed it.

  • Siby Silvester
    November 26, 2015 3:00 pm

    Thanks you so much Brent for supporting us. Can’t believe!!!!, a nice Thanksgiving gift.

  • One awesome initiative. Knowledge is a greater form of wealth than any amount of money, and I just love it when people who have it, use it to make a difference in the world to those who need it.

    Great idea guys!

  • So thankful for yall, sp_Blitz, for your blogs, for your index tuning hints and the website in general. I am also thankful for sweet answers to simple questions.

  • great initiative brent.
    Great to know so much good work being done by different people around the world.

  • Steven Johnson
    November 27, 2015 9:49 am

    I can only sum it up with the following words

  • You guys really rocks, congratulations to all. Until now i don´t know anybody specialist that give that type of gifts. Really really cool guys. Congratulations for all the winners.

  • Thank you Brent and crew,
    Again being a former employee of a Non-Profit getting the training that was needed was always a pita. Thank you again for what you do.

  • Thank you! This is a wonderful Thanksgiving gift. I am very grateful for your tools, blog, videos, advice and jokes.


  • This truly is an amazing way to give back to the greater world around us. Very cool!

  • I am thankful to all the people of Brent Ozar company for making it possible for us to get the quality SQL Server training. You guys are making a real impact in the community by touching the lives of people in a great way. Keep up the good work.

  • First of all, congratulations to the winners and I’m sure they’re all going to benefit immensely from their scholarships.

    Secondly, this has been a good object lesson to me. I wasn’t aware that the NHS’s IT staff were even worse off than I was – somebody who works for an MSP and hasn’t had a pay rise, let alone a training course in the past 3 years. I should have applied myself, by the sound of it 😉 I didn’t, because I assumed that people that work for multi-million pound companies (and the NHS has a budget my employers would kill for) would be automatically excluded.

    This is not meant to be a negative post, just a comment that, if you don’t ask, you don’t get – and that you never know what the results may be.

    Again, congratulations and best wishes to all the winners.

    • Anna – yep, there were some great examples from NHS applicants. I’m going to paraphrase here, but one applicant said she really loved her work because she was able to make a real difference in patient care, and she explained how. She knew she could go somewhere else and get a pay raise, but she was willing to make that sacrifice because it felt like the right thing to do. Therefore, us giving her training felt like the right thing to do too.

  • David Caughill
    November 30, 2015 7:16 am

    I’m so glad you included International Justice Mission on this list! They are doing some of the most important and difficult work against human trafficking, but not a lot of people are aware of their efforts. They are one of those rare organizations that are not only helping the victims but also putting a huge dent into the operations of the perpetrators as well.

  • Probably one of the best emails to wake up to! I feel extremely blessed to have been picked as a winner. I’m always looking for ways to expand my knowledge in SQL Server and have been a visitor of Brent’s for a while. I appreciate how much Brent and his team gives back to the community! A true example of how people should be!

    I’m definitely looking forward to the precon at SQLSatDC and the ton of videos available!

    Thanks Brent and Team!
    Mohammad Darab

  • I feel so lucky that my organization was picked to receive this gift! Looking through the winners, I can see how much the Ozar team cares about giving and how they are optimizing the effect this has.

    Thanksgiving, Christmas, it’s all a world of good when people understand that giving IS getting.
    The path to getting the right things begins with giving.

    You guys rock, and I won’t let this go to waste. Hope to see you all teach live soon.

  • This is awesome! We’re all winners when we see these types of educational opportunities being given out. Looking forward to seeing some new Super stars in the the Data industry! 🙂

  • Camila Santos
    October 4, 2016 11:37 am

    This is one of the nicest things that I saw during this year! I had no idea you guys did this, but I am happy to see how much this matters to you all. Congratulations to the team, and to the winners!


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