By Kim Walter -- firstname.lastname@example.org
FRONT ROYAL -- Town staff has recommended that Town Council approve the purchase of eCIVIS, a grant management software which would help alert the town of available grants based on specific areas of financial need.
Planning and Zoning Director Jeremy Camp and Director of Finance Kim Gilkey-Breeden gave a presentation to council members last week on the software as well as what surrounding communities had to say about their involvement with the program.
Founded in 2000, eCIVIS offers grant management software and support to local jurisdictions, nonprofit organizations and health care companies.
"They've had over 30,000 success stories," Camp said of the company.
He described the three different packages that are offered: a research module that includes a search engine for grants and a notification system; a knowledge base module that trains participants on how to look for the best grants possible; and a tracking and reporting module which takes care of all the administrative work like filling out grant applications.
Each module has a separate cost that covers five licenses each, meaning that five different users could access each module.
Camp and Gilkey-Breeden suggested that the town purchase all three modules with a three- year commitment. The total cost for the package would come to a little over $33,000.
The town's current budget could handle the cost, according to Gilkey-Breeden.
"In today's economy, localities need to look at more funding options than just tax dollars," Gilkey-Breeden said. "If [eCIVIS] is used correctly, it could more than pay for itself."
Camp said that the new software could be used by existing staff and be shared with town citizens "looking for grants for private individuals."
Gilkey-Breeden said that surrounding counties -- Rappahannock, Culpeper, Loudoun and Fauquier, among others -- have purchased the system and already have seen positive results.
Culpeper has been using the software for over five years now, Gilkey-Breeden said.
"Their first award was for $235,000, and last year they received a grant for $440,000," she said. "The awards more than paid for the product."
eCIVIS also claims that "two out of three grant applications applied for by their clients is approved," Camp said. He added that it would save a great deal of staff time.
Town Council will take a role call vote on the purchase at its March 26 meeting.