By Daniel Hutti, CBN Graduate Research Assistant

In June of 2015, the City of St. Louis’ Community Development Administration (CDA) announced they would begin rolling out a new online grants management system called the Electronic Grants Administration and Management System, or EGrAMS. In early July, the CDA fully implemented the first phase of this new system. Coinciding with this announcement, the CDA also offered online training sessions for those interested in learning more about the new system.

The new EGrAMS system is a major improvement from the CDA’s previous grants management system. In its older form, agencies were responsible for mailing in or dropping off 5 paper copies of their grant application to the CDA office in downtown St. Louis. As a result, agencies had to physically submit hundreds of pages to the CDA to file a single grant application.

The arrival of EGrAMS puts an end to this old process and the paperwork. Now, agencies can write and submit their entire grant application online.

The EGrAMS system is wholly web based and user friendly. According to the CDA’s website, EGrAMs allows organizations to search for grants, apply for funding and review the status of their application online. To use the EGrAMS system, organizations only need to register an agency and a user profile account. Organizations that have been awarded funding can view their contract and submit updates and financial reports online.

One of the most exciting features of the new EGrAMS system is the capability for users to collaborate on a grant application. The user who creates an application, the ‘owner,’ can assign permission levels and designate tasks to other users within an agency. Another useful feature from the new system is its ability to check an agency’s application for mistakes.

The CDA’s new EGrAMS system is streamlined and significantly more efficient, making the job of grant applicants and grant administrators much faster and easier.

Within the first month, the CDA already has a grant available under its new online system, the 2016 round of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding. CDBG is already familiar to many, only organizations can now view and apply for it completely online.