Strong electron correlation within a quasi-spin model of chromophores was recently shown to enhance exciton energy transfer significantly. Here we investigate how the modulation of the electronic structure of the chromophores by chemical substitution can enhance energy-transfer efficiency. Unlike previous work that does not consider the direct effect of the electronic structure on exciton dynamics, we add chemical substituents to the fluorone dimer to study the effect of electron-donating and electron-withdrawing substituents on exciton energy transfer. The exciton dynamics are studied from the solution of a quantum Liouville equation for an open system whose model Hamiltonian is derived from excited-state electronic structure calculations. Both van der Waals energies and coupling energies, arising from the Hellmann-Feynman force generated upon transferring the dimers from infinity to a finite separation, are built into the model Hamiltonian. Though these two effects are implicitly treated in dipole-based models, their explicit and separate treatment as discussed here is critical to forging the correct connection with the electronic structure calculations. We find that the addition of electron-donating substituents to the fluorone system results in an increase in exciton-transfer rates by factors ranging from 1.3-1.9. The computed oscillator strength is consistent with the recent experimental results on a larger heterodimer system containing fluorone. The oscillator strength increases with the addition of electron-donating substituents. Our results indicate that the study of chromophore networks via electronic structure will help in the future design of efficient synthetic light-harvesting systems.