DePaul Community Services

How a 42-year-old agency transformed its operations and saves time using Foothold’s AWARDS software

Organization Type: Mental Health
Location: Western New York and North Carolina
Year Founded: 1958
Total staff: 2,000
Annual Operating Budget: Over $75 million

The Situation: Multiple funding streams with unique data requirements

Jeff Smith, the MIS Director at DePaul, knew that there had to be a more effective way to track organizational information. DePaul offers more than 90 programs over 13 counties in two states with almost 2,000 staff. The agency was juggling data requirements from a dozen different funding streams across multiple systems. In 2000, Jeff came across software that had the potential to be a single point of entry for all agency data. There were many factors that made AWARDS a good match for DePaul. The software was developed with case management capabilities that match the business and program operations of human service agencies. There was the added benefit that the software made audit preparation swift and efficient – at the touch of a button. “After reviewing our options, we decided that there wasn’t a program out there that could meet our needs as well as AWARDS,” Jeff says.

The Solution: AWARDS software from Foothold Technology

To facilitate the roll-out of AWARDS, Jeff and his colleague Shelia Kline put together a project implementation team. The goal was to transition the agency to a streamlined and uniform software package, but the project was much more than that. The software signaled a shift in the way DePaul did business – creating standardization and accountability across the agency. After training provided by Foothold staff, DePaul began using AWARDS and had almost immediate results. Jeff notes, “Mark Fuller, DePaul’s CEO, would get phone calls from our government funders asking for very specific information. Previously, he would have to call all the program directors to get the information and this would sometimes take several days. Now he just accesses AWARDS and he has the information in less than 5 seconds.”

The Result: Easier reporting and data collection agency wide

By implementing AWARDS, DePaul was able to standardize its data collection requirements and eliminate the need for repetitive data entry across agency programs. DePaul’s largest local funder appreciates the timeliness and standardization of reports that come with DePaul’s switch to AWARDS. “When the board and executive team mandated use of AWARDS, DePaul took a step forward, and we’ve never looked back,” Smith says. “The pay-off for us has been unbelievable. The best thing is that our social workers now have a lot more time to spend with clients, thanks to the time they save by using AWARDS.”

“My CFO and I were talking about Foothold as part of our community here at DePaul and we both agree that this is by far the best partnership we have ever been a part of.” – Jeff Smith, DePaul Community Services