We assemble teams as needed that are led by Jim Farnam, Owner, and staffed by Associate Consultant Jessica Clavette and contract Associates and Interns as required.

Jim Farnam formed Farnam Associates in 2010 after 21 years as a Partner in Holt, Wexler & Farnam, LLP. (HWF), a firm providing strategy planning, program development, and evaluation services to the nonprofit and public sectors. Previous to that, he served for four years as Director of the City of New Haven’s Office of Downtown and Harbor Development and worked in urban planning for the cities of New Haven and New York over a 10 year period.

Jim specializes in complex, multi-faceted planning assignments which draw on his extensive experience in education, workforce development, health and social services, community revitalization, and government policy and operations. He applies strong policy and analytical skills to a wide range of challenging projects from education to early childhood to community development. He meets clients where they are, quickly assessing their particular needs and situation, and works with them to devise solutions that work.

Since refocusing his work back in the City of New Haven since 2014, he has helped the City seek designation as a federal Promise Zone in 2014 (finalist status reached) and again in 2016 (pending). He helped the City obtain two $1 million grants from the Department of Justice—under the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program and the Second Chance Act Adult Reentry Demonstration. Other grants received recently include a $5.5 million Ready To Work grant and a $500,000 grant to establish an American Job Center at the New Haven Correctional Center, both for the Workforce Alliance; an Early Head Start grant ( $852,000 annually) for the United Way of Greater New Haven; a $350,000 Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant for the Justice Education Center; and a $3.8 million award to The Connection to provide Sex Offender services to the State of Connecticut.

In 2011, he was lead planner for the successful Meriden Family Zone Promise Neighborhood application (15 of 200 were awarded) and headed the team preparing their Promise Neighborhood Implementation Grant application. Projects he led at HWF included preparing the successful Empowerment Zone Plan for New Haven, one of 11 nationally which brought $27 million to the City’s poorest neighborhoods, and pulling together the largest HOPE VI grant awarded in the first round ($45.3 million) for the Elm Haven Public Housing project (now known as Monterey Homes), both part of over $250 million in grants he has been instrumental in bringing to New Haven and Connecticut. At the City of New Haven, he assisted or managed applications for Urban Development Action Grants bringing in $31 million to fill specific project financing gaps.

Jim holds a keen interest in community data systems and related technological innovations. He founded DataHaven, a community indicators web portal for Greater New Haven which is a member of the National Neighborhood Indicators Project. He also was a founder of the Connecticut Data Collaborative ( He also served from 2011-2012 as Manager of the Community Indicators Consortium, an international learning community of community indicators practitioners, government data providers, and academics advancing the indicators field.

Jim was a Visiting Lecturer in the School of Architecture and the American Studies Department at Yale University from 1987-1993, where he has taught a college seminar in planning and development four times. He is a graduate of Yale College and holds a Master’s Degree in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.

Associate Consultant Jessica Clavette

Jessica joined Farnam Associates in September 2017 after relocating back to Connecticut from Sydney, Australia.

Jessica is an emerging political communications professional, with interests in the role of resilience in public sector and nonprofit work and multi-stakeholder collaborative initiatives across a range of areas, including international relations, public policy, renewable energy, and advocacy.  She holds a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from the University of Vermont, and has a range of diverse international experience including working under Australia’s Parliament for the New South Wale’s Department of Fair Trading and earlier for the former U.S. Ambassador to Austria.

Most recently, Jessica was a visiting Research Fellow at Western Sydney University’s Institute for Culture and Society, where she worked on the development of a Living Lab in partnership with WSU and Google AU/NZ.  The Lab’s mission is to employ emerging technology to increase the resilience of young people and their communities in Greater Western Sydney, the fastest growing and most culturally diverse region in Australia.  Prior to that, she conducted research on behalf of Rescue Global, a disaster risk reduction NGO based in London.  There her research helped to inform major governance structure decisions around the launch of an international alliance within the disaster risk reduction sector.

Jessica’s policy, research, writing and project management experience enable her to assemble thorough final products and adapt to any project need.  She is passionate about capitalizing on opportunities for collaboration and is looking forward to focusing on how we at Farnam Associates can best help the nonprofit and public sectors.

Contract Associates

Illisa Kelman

Illisa Kelman is a free-lance writer and program developer who has worked on large projects with Farnam Associates, LLC, nearly since its inception. She excels in both big picture thinking and the finer details of English grammar and syntax. Illisa has worked on all of the firm’s major projects for the City of New Haven, as well as on its grants for the Workforce Alliance, the United Way of Greater New Haven, The Justice Education Center, and The Connection. She also served as a writer for the Meriden Promise Neighborhood application.

Illisa currently writes and problem solves for hire. While attending Wesleyan University, Illisa learned that she could live anywhere and do anything, which she did, albeit domestically, for eleven years. She worked in many fields where professional licensing is not requisite, including environmental education, community-based conservation, graphic design and cooking. Illisa returned to Connecticut for her Masters at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, fell in love with New Haven, and chose it as her home.

Charlene Voyce

Charlene Voyce has more than 25 years’ experience designing and implementing educational and community-based programming and research. Charlene consistently delivers exceptional oversight of all aspects of grant-funded programs and projects: preparation of grant applications, project and budget management, staff supervision and training, and preparation of material for reports, presentations, and publication. She is adept at facilitating common understanding among stakeholders with varied perspectives including funders, administrators, community members, and researchers from multiple disciplines.

Charlene has worked for Yale University for over 25 years in a variety of positions at the Yale Child Study Center, the Department of Psychology, and the Yale Cancer Center.  Among many other assignments, she directed a multi-year evaluation study investigating the effectiveness of Social and Emotional Learning programs on risk-behaviors and protective-factors among adolescents attending the New Haven Public Schools and served as the Evaluation Specialist for the New HAven Public Schools.  She has a BA from Duke University and an MPH from the University of North Carolina School of Public Health.