The International HUG Foundation

Board of Directors

Joanna Breitstein, Co-Founder, President

Joanna is a Co-Founder and President of The i.HUG Foundation. She first traveled to Africa in 2004, working as a journalist, and then spent several years organizing with others for the formal launch of the organization in 2006.


Currently, Joanna works as the Director of Communications for a healthcare company. Previously, Joanna spent nearly 8 years overseeing communications for TB Alliance, a not-for-profit with the mission of developing improved drugs for tuberculosis. For the previous decade, she was a writer and editor. Joanna received numerous writing awards for her working including Grand Neal Awards and a Kaiser Family Foundation fellowship.


Eduardo [Eddie] Beltre, Finance Committee

Eddie joined the board of i.HUG in March 2019. He was introduced to the organization during one if i.HUG’s fundraising events. He was motivated by i.HUG's devotion to the children of Uganda, and its unique approach.

Eddie comes with a decade of experience in nonprofit financial management, operations, and strategic planning. His focus has been on designing and implementing operating systems and procedures that establish stability while seamlessly supporting growth. Currently, he is the Director of Talent Operations and Culture at Literacy Trust, a NYC-based nonprofit, focused on increasing capacity in schools to create fluent, motivated, self-confident readers. The organization runs Reading Rescue -  a research-based early literacy intervention - across NYC. 


Dr. Jacqueline Busingye, Program Committee

Dr. Jacqueline Busingye was born in Uganda and raised in the United States. Having lived in Uganda during her early years, she was very intrigued about the work of i.HUG from when she accompanied her husband to a fundraising event in 2015. Seeing the work that is done by the staff and volunteers of i.HUG made her want to be more involved. She joined the Board of Directors of i.HUG in the  beginning  of 2017.  She assists with several aspects of the organization but specifically the health care programs. She’s looking forward to returning to Uganda this year and seeing the work that i.HUG does on the ground level. She is currently an Ophthalmologist specializing in Uveitis in New York City.


Rebecca Duane, Finance Committee

Becky joined i.HUG’s Finance Committee as a volunteer in 2007 and later became a child sponsor.  She has made two visits to Uganda to meet her graduated student and experience the work on the ground.  During her trips, she was inspired by the dynamic and resilient team and their accomplishments creating tremendous opportunities for Ugandan youth.  She is excited to join the board to support the organization's strategic financial management efforts as well as work with the team to incorporate career development into the i.HUG’s programming.  


Becky has spent a decade working in the financial services industry with a focus on advancing economic opportunity and financial inclusion efforts.  After completing her MBA, she is working with a start-up on blockchain technology to provide digital identities to the world’s underserved population and increase transparency, accountability, and efficiency of international development aid.  She is on the teaching team with Girls Who Code and will be joining IBM's internal strategy group later this year.


Mandy Hickling, Vice-President, Program Committee

Mandy Hickling is Director of Programs and i.HUG’s Vice President of the Board. In her role, Mandy leads i.HUG’s work to research, design, and implement our innovative educational programs, working in close collaboration with our Ugandan partner organization, Tooto Wetu Education Program (TWEP). Mandy’s current focus is on further evidencing the long-term impact of two successful programs (Learn to Play, Play to Learn and First Aid in Schools) so they can be scaled up for maximum impact. This includes producing toolkits, white papers and training modules intended for teachers and other educational stakeholders as well as overseeing the monitoring, evaluation and learning of all i.HUG programs in Uganda.


Mandy joined i.HUG in 2008 and regularly visits our programs and beneficiaries in Uganda. Mandy also serves on i.HUG’s Finance committee where she leads program budgeting and grant monitoring. Mandy was i.HUG’s Board President from 2012-2017, leading the organization through strategic change to implement a sustainable model.


Mandy has a degree in Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford, an MSc in Development Administration and Planning from the University of Bristol, holds Qualified Teacher Status in the UK as well as PMD Pro Level 1. She has more than 15 years of experience in education at schools and with non-profits in the UK and US. Mandy currently lives in the UK and works as a freelance education advisor and program development specialist.


Lynn Serra, Board Member > Director of Creative and Brand Management, Head of Events


Lynn has been a child sponsor and a volunteer for The i.HUG Foundation since it’s inception. In 2010, she joined the Board of Directors and is responsible for creating all marketing, communications and promotional materials for the organization, as well as assisting with our fundraising efforts. Lynn has served as the Chair of the Annual Benefit Gala since 2008. Lynn visited i.HUG’s program in Uganda for the first time in November 2010 and continues to visit to watch the program grow and develop. Each trip has been inspirational for her. Being able to meet and spend time with i.HUG’s Ugandan staff, volunteers, the children in the program, and members of the community makes her dedication to i.HUG even stronger.


Lynn is a New England native who has spent the past 25 years in New York City working at numerous publications, design firms and beauty companies in creative roles.