Meet the Team


Jim Farnam


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.

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 two successive $3.8 million awards to The Connection to provide Sex Offender services to the State of Connecticut. Between 2014 and 2022, the Farnam Associates team prepared 16 successful federal grant applications with a total yield of $34.2 million and 8 state proposals yielding $26.7 million.

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 $450 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.

From 2015-2020, Farnam led a team providing technical assistance to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in support of 5 Connecticut Working Cities grantees with cross-sector City Teams addressing pressing issues in their community.

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.

Keri Humphries

Associate Consultant

Keri is a non-profit programs professional with expertise in organizational development, community engagement and program evaluation.

She received her Master’s in Community Psychology from the University of New Haven with a concentration in Program Development and has used her knowledge and skills to advise organizations and grow programs. She played a key role on the team that grew the number of students served at New Haven Reads from 250 students to 600 over seven years, recruiting and training over 400 tutors per year and helping to develop a cloud-based data system to support program management and evaluation. Drawing on her nonprofit program experience, she is adept at identifying opportunities and enjoys working collaboratively with non-profits to integrate solutions. A transplant from South Arkansas, Keri has made New Haven home.

Illisa Kelman

Contract Consultant

Illisa Kelman is a free-lance writer and program developer who has worked on large projects with Farnam Associates, LLC, 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

Contract Consultant