REI Insights

Improving Management of D.C. Department of Health Public Funds with GovGrants
May 5, 2021
GovGrants D.C. Department of Health 2

The Challenge

The DC DoH is responsible for compliance with all federal and DC government laws, regulations, and mandates for receiving funds, spending them appropriately, and adhering to standards for delivering services. The agency found that managing of public funds using a web of homegrown systems, myriad spreadsheets, and countless folders was incredibly challenging.

Several aspects of the DC DoH’s grant-making processes were performed manually, on paper, and the absence of a single, automated system for the entire grants lifecycle – from grant applications and reviews through the issuance of awards to the tracking of performance outcomes – resulted in a lack of accountability and poor adherence to protocols. This dynamic led to not only a substantial investment of time and effort but also numerous errors.

Without a system in place, the DC DoH couldn’t track any level of mission impact or provide justification for additional funding or staffing. The five different operating divisions within the DC DoH used different systems, standards and processes and, as a result, operated inefficiently (and often differently from one another).

To help the DC DoH operate more efficiently, REI was tasked with developing an enterprise-level system used by multiple components, which led to greater economies of scale, enhanced coordination, increased standardization, and the ability to holistically manage risk across grant programs.

Our Approach

The DC DoH is one of the largest grant makers in the Washington, DC region. It provides critical healthcare services to thousands of citizens, young and old. With its new enterprise grants management system, the DC DoH can shift its focus from pushing paper and validating compliance to freeing its staff members to work with grant recipients and drive positive change in the community. The opening of new health centers, the bolstering of health-related programs (e.g., Ryan White HIV-AIDs), and improved health outcomes have a wide-ranging impact on the entire Washington, DC area.

The implementation of an online grants management system eliminated manual entry-related errors and nearly eradicated paper-based forms. The cloud-based solution enables easy access by all stakeholders on any device, at any time. Users can get real-time access to grant records and follow up on their task lists using a smartphone, which radically changes the timeliness and accuracy of data inputs. Thanks to REI’s GovGrants, Washington, DC now benefits from a highly effective single system to manage of all its grant funds.


The core team had to employ numerous organizational change techniques to engender end-user support, over-communicate timelines and procedures, and provide support throughout the transition to a new IT system. In the end, with the support of REI, the DC DoH successfully transformed the management of its grant funding through the use of REI’s online, automated system.