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 50 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 Archdeacon of the Episcopal Church of East Tennessee. Contact Jerry at (865) 313-2077 or Jerry's specialties include organizational development, major gift fundraising, and leadership.

Chase Whitmire, Director of Membership Development


Chase has been in the nonprofit world for more than 20 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 (865) 313-2077 x202 or​ Chase's specialties include volunteer management and fundraising.


Tiffani Mensch, Director of Education & Outreach

tiffani.jpgWith 15 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector, Tiffani is passionate about helping organizations achieve greater mission impact. Tiffani currently serves on the boards of Girls Inc. of Tennessee Valley and 91.9 Inc. WUOT and is on the Standards Council for the Standards for Excellence Institute. She also volunteers with several local nonprofits. She earned an MA from Rhode Island School of Design and a BFA from Rochester Institute of Technology. Contact Tiffani at (865) 313-2077 x204 or Tiffani's specialties include programming, fundraising, marketing, communications, grant writing, and organizational/program evaluation.

Elle Benson, Director of Capacity Building


Elle Benson is the Director of Capacity Building for the Alliance for Better Nonprofits (ABN), East Tennessee’s nonprofit resource center. She oversees the educational development and consulting practices at ABN. Elle brought ten years of nonprofit and business consulting experience into assisting in the creation of ABN. Her nonprofit experience includes fundraising, nonprofit program development, nonprofit and corporate marketing, human resources, board governance, and strategic planning. She holds a certification in board governance from BoardSource, a global network advancing board governance practices. She also has a certificate in group facilitation. She earned a business degree from the Haslam College of Business, and she completed her MBA in leadership and organizational change at Tiffin University.

She currently teaches nonprofit management for the University of Tennessee Non-Credit Programs. Elle enjoys being involved in the community, having served on eight nonprofit boards. She is currently serving on boards and committees for the Association of Infant Mental Health in Tennessee, Friends of Literacy, United Way of Greater Knoxville, and Young Professionals of Knoxville.

Her favorite consulting projects include board development, board and staff retreats, executive recruiting, and group facilitation. Contact Elle at (865) 313-2077 x203 or Elle's specialties include board development and human resources.


Jasmine Harper, Operations Manager

Jasmine.jpgJasmine’s passion for nonprofits has taken her far in the first five years of her career. Starting at a mid-sized nonprofit here in Knoxville, she demonstrated great work ethic as a team player and served as both the administrator and grant writer. She received her BA in technical communications from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, as well as a grant writing certificate from the UT Non-Credit Program. It wasn’t long before Jasmine discovered her passion for nonprofits and set her sights on joining the ABN team, which she felt was the most all-encompassing way to help her community. Here at ABN, Jasmine oversees the day-to-day operations and supports all staff in their roles to ensure the best quality of service to our members, partners, and donors.  In addition to her professional career, Jasmine also serves on boards and committees at Bijou Theatre and Project GRAD and volunteers at Beck Cultural Center, Tailgating for a Cause, and The First Tee of Greater Knoxville. Contact Jasmine at (865) 313-2077 x205 or Jasmine’s specialties include grant writing, administrative processes, Microsoft Office software, and database management, with direct experience with DonorSnap, Little Green Light, and YourMembership.