Jerry Askew, President


Jerry brings nearly 40 years of nonprofit experience to ABN, having held executive positions in higher education, philanthropy and healthcare. Since arriving in Knoxville in 1985, Jerry has served as Dean of Students and Associate Vice Chancellor for Development and Alumni Affairs at the University of Tennessee, President of the East Tennessee Foundation and Senior Vice President of the St. Mary’s/Mercy Health Systems. In addition, Jerry has served on the boards of over 40 nonprofit organizations at the local, state and national levels. He received his BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, MS from the University of Memphis and PhD from The Ohio State University. Jerry is also an ordained deacon in the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee. Contact Jerry at or (865) 313-2077.

Chase Whitmire, Director of Membership Development


Chase has been in the nonprofit world for 17 years, working both locally and internationally. He is passionate about collaboration and unifying organizations to make their communities the best they can be. Chase grew up in Chattanooga, TN and later attended college at Furman University in South Carolina. Before joining the team at ABN, Chase worked for Young Life in Maryville, TN; Madrid, Spain; and most recently in New York City. He and his family are happy to be back home in Tennessee! Contact Chase at or (865) 313-2077 x202.

Elle Benson, Director of Capacity Building


Elle is originally from Denver, Colorado and came to Tennessee via the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she graduated from the Haslam College of Business. She completed her MBA in leadership and organizational change at Tiffin University. Before joining ABN, Elle served as marketing supervisor for LBMC, PC, a business and recruiting consulting firm, and was the director of operations and fund development for the YWCA Knoxville. She currently teaches nonprofit fundraising and human resources for the University of Tennessee Non-Credit Programs. Elle is the past president of Young Professionals of Knoxville (YPK), and served as the curriculum chair for the inaugural YPK Leadership Certificate program. She serves on the board of Friends of Literacy and the United Way Young Leaders Society. Contact Elle at or (865) 313-2077 x203.

Eddie Crim, Assistant Director of Capacity Building

tiffani.jpgEddie Crim graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design, where he earned a Master of Art degree. While working on his MBA from the University of Tennessee Haslam College of Business, with a concentration in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, he served as the Director of Philanthropy for the Tennessee Organization of MBAs, the College’s flagship student organization. Eddie grew up in Nashville but has called Knoxville home for the past 16 years. He started his own restoration and remodeling business, and has also taught photography part-time at Pellissippi Community College and the University of Tennessee. Eddie volunteers for multiple nonprofits, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, Relay for Life, MEDIC, and Second Harvest. He loves his Knoxville community and hopes to take his diverse experiences and apply them to local nonprofits. Contact Eddie at or (865) 313-2077 x208.

Tiffani Mensch, Director of Community Engagement


With over a decade of experience in nonprofit fundraising and community outreach, Tiffani is passionate about helping nonprofits achieve greater mission impact. Before joining ABN, she worked for the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, the University of Tennessee, and Girls Inc. of Santa Fe. Tiffani currently serves as vice president of the board of trustees for Girls Inc. of Knoxville, sits on the 91.9 Inc. WUOT advisory board, and is a peer reviewer and Standards Council member for the Standards for Excellence Institute. She also volunteers with several local nonprofits. She earned her MA from Rhode Island School of Design and a BFA from Rochester Institute of Technology. Contact Tiffani at or (865) 313-2077 x204.