Rainer and Hashtagcodes' Philanthropic endeavors

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Noelle Rainer and Robert Rainer, Heroes Among Us -2009

 

What.ngo operates several nonprofit projects, which we merged under the roof of one 501(c)(3), nonprofit corporation, the Worldwide Help Alliance Team, Inc. 

 

What.ngo, formerly known as the North American Help Services Alliance, Inc, provides educational services about important health issues to countries around the globe. 

 

What.ngo is the corporate hub for many individual projects and nonprofit endeavors. Worldwide Help Alliance Team, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) corporation based in the United States.

We work on multiple fronts to address the following concerns:

 

America's Hotline Directory, (hotlinedirectory.org and hotlines.ngo) is a United States-based hotline, helpline, and chat line directory. We have compiled a database of close to one million services. We provide a dedicated pager for each service, providing detailed information. The directory assists anyone looking for an unbiased report about hotlines, to help them select the best one to call that matches their needs.

Unlike Google and other search engines, we do not accept ads, so that each hotline in our database receives equal exposure with other similar services, regardless of the size of services and/or its advertising budget. 

By not accept pay per click advertising or donations, our directory will remain unbiased, and over time, ratings and reviews that we collect will provide visitors with even more information about each hotline. 

Long term, we hope to use the data we're collecting from actual hotline users to generate meaningful statistics about hotlines for us to share with everyone. 

 

Information about our nonprofit work related to education and advocacy related to Post Intensive Care Syndrome is at:

In 2015, Rainer and Hashtagcodes turned their attention to building startup businesses on a full-time basis. However, because of an illness in 2015, Rainer retired. Because he was unaware of the illness that led to his disability, Post Intensive Care Syndrome ("PICS"), Rainer, first co-founded AfterICU, with 2 of his critical care physicians at Brigham & Women's Hospital, see aftericu.org.

 

A few years later, Rainer founded PostICU, Inc. a more patient-centric, 501(c)(3) corporation, whose mission is more patient-centric, educating and providing resources to former ICU patients and their families, see posticu.org.

Recognizing that AfterICU's and PostICU's efforts were duplicative, the directors for both agencies merged to form the umbrella organization PICS.ngo, see pics.ngo.

PostICU.org

AfterICU.org

MyICU.org

Recently, Rainer and Hashtagcodes introduced an anti-tobacco campaign to the international community; we call the StompOut Tobacco Challenge. 

We slated the Stomp Out Tobacco Challenge to go live in the winter of 2023. 

Our first challenge is for concerned people to sign our petition, which will be available to people from every country, subject to their jurisdictional regulations. 

All participants will receive awards, and winners will receive a special award.

stompouttobacco.org.

FUTURE PLANNED NONPROFIT WORK INCLUDES A PROPOSED WATCHDOG AGENCY THAT WILL USE DATA COLLECTED BY THE HOTLINE DIRECTORY AND PLANNED RESEARCH TO OVERSEE THE HOTLINE INDUSTRY

HelpUnited.org is a project that we plan to roll out in a few years. 

 

Our goal is to be a watchdog service for the hotline industry, and a resource for all hotline volunteers to collaborate and to exercise their clout by joining, to make recommendations about hotline best practices. 

 

Through our efforts on the Hotline Directory project, we have learned that no one knows how many hotlines are operating in the US. 

 

When we began the project, we expected to find ten thousand hotlines, helplines, and chat lines. However, our estimates were not even close. As of the winter of 2022, we have found almost one million services in the US.

 

We have several concerns about the hotline industry.

 

The duplicative work, recreating the wheel repeatedly, for things like building hotline volunteers training programs, is astounding. The amount of nonprofit services doing identical work to others that do identical work is nothing short of shocking. We believe that there is a misuse of money, donated dollars and grants, because of no oversight or self-regulation in the hotline industry is beyond wasteful. It's impossible to compile a list of these services, because there are no laws, rules, or regulations that require registration. 

There are countless examples of blatantly obvious waste that don't require investigation. For example, many hotlines build their own training programs for their hotline workers from scratch. The plain fact is that it is easy to find open source training courses online. 

Also, each hotline service has its own volunteer recruitment programs. It could not be more obvious to anyone with a modicum of commonsense that recruiting volunteers on a large scale basis, with many hotlines sharing in the cost, would save millions. This approach would improve the caliber of training programs, and work towards developing best practices for recruitment and training.

Sharing advertising expenses for recruiting volunteers, while expanding the reach of volunteer recruitment advertising. 

Without regulations, the hotline industry will continue to waste valuable resources, reduce the effectiveness and caliber of volunteers, and continue recreating the wheel.

We hope to build the infrastructure for a project designed to help nonprofit hotlines to reign in their wasteful spending by offering sensible solutions. 

Our plan includes recruiting hotline volunteers and hotline staff to join us on this project.  

With elbow grease, and by stepping on some hotline executives' toes, we can make tremendous, positive change. 

For example, the following are just a few sensible, dynamic best practices that could improve the hotline industry, so that callers and texters can be better served:

1. Industry acknowledgement that hotlines should not compete for callers and texters. 

2. The hotline industry should work towards uniformity in training standards, by consolidating and sharing training programs. 

3. Sharing costs of advertising to pursue recruitment of volunteers by the hotline industry, interviewing, placement, and continued education. 

 

4. The hotline industry requires best practices to operate in a more uniform and, therefore, meaningful way.

 

5. The hotline industry needs to self regulate by creating a panel/group of industry workers from volunteers, to development, to marketing, to executives. This regulating authority should make recommendations about best practices and money saving practices, to be voted on and adopted by the industry. 

Our volunteers have identified hundreds of thousands of hotlines, helplines, and chat lines. And, they have written descriptions about each, so that people in need can easily search for the right service on our website. Our efforts have showed to us that there are too many large, advertising oriented, powerful hotline services. And that many of these services cannot handle the flow of callers and texters. As a result, callers and texters are not receiving proper help.

These larger sized nonprofit hotlines become inflated by dedicating their efforts and resources towards savvy advertising. 

Some larger services must route inbound calls to small services, because they've invested so much into advertising their brand. 

 

Became there is no government or industry oversight of the enormous hotline industry, executives' pay goes unmonitored. This is not only a waste of money, it's a danger to the people who call hotlines expecting to receive expert services, but meet with improperly trained volunteers. High school and college students staff many of these hotlines. They do their best, but we know that most are volunteering, not because of their concern for people, as much as their need to have a mandatory amount of volunteer hours for their resumes. 

 

As a result, frequently, hotline callers and texters speak with 16-year-old kids, with a couple of days of training under their belts.

 

They cannot properly equip children to answer questions from people who are in desperate circumstances and in need of help from a professional. 

 

We don't allow 16-year-old kids to hang shingles outside an office to open their own psychology practice. 

 

Often, these 16-year-old kids are taking on the responsibility of well-seasoned psychologists. 

 

People have typically reached a breaking point when they gather the courage to call a hotline. 

They regularly rout these callers to volunteers who are simply not qualified to handle these types of calls and text messages. Hotlines are called by people who have probably hit rock bottom and have no other place to turn.

Hotline based nonprofits can be the recipients of large amount of money through donations and grants. 

Oversight of these nonprofits would include following the money to establish that hotlines use money properly. We can all agree that the money should ensure that skilled, well-trained people handle calls. And, that hotlines should use their income in a manner that best benefits users of their service.

Are hotline spending their income the way they should? We believe it's fair to assume that, most times, they don't.  

Our research and interviews support a conclusion that, without a third party intervening in the hotline industry to facilitate self-regulation, as described above, the hotline industry will remain broken. Frankly, it's just too easy to start a nonprofit hotline, and to use it as a source of income for its foundered and executives.

 

One only needs a seat at a cell phone to start a hotline. 

 

That's one reason hundreds of thousands of hotlines exist today. Medium to large sized hotline nonprofits have executives whose salaries they tie to the salaries of other similarity sized nonprofits. 

Even if only a small percentage of the hundreds of thousands of hotlines pay executives, similarly to other nonprofits, then there are likely tens of thousands of executives pay large salaries. If our supposition is accurate, then there is no incentive for hotlines to merge their services.

Because there is a disincentive to hotline nonprofits to merge with other hotlines, and there's no leverage to make consolidation happen, savvy businesspeople will continue to start up new hotline nonprofit services. 

What more proof do we require? The facts speak for themselves. New hotline services are open every day.

The volume of hotline nonprofit speaks to a much larger problem. Some nonprofits misuse and abuse the system.

Too many businesspeople create nonprofits to make money over the purpose of helping others.  

Can HelpUnited change what is clearly an endemic problem in the nonprofit industry

Definitely.

The hotline industry is a great place to start. Creating a buzz around the issues described above will be the primary mission of helpunited.org.

We hope to solicit help from as many people as possible to create enough clout to take on the role of a watchdog for the hotline industry. 

We will continue to collect data from users of the Hotline Directory, who voluntarily share information with us about their hotline experiences. That data, over a period, will show trends and provide statistics of value to HelpUnited.

We hope to encourage present and former hotline volunteers and staff to join HelpUnited. 

One way we will do this is through continuing to improve our Annual National Hotline Volunteer Month. 

We see our plans for HelpUnited as the most important mission for What.ngo. It will also be the most difficult to pursue.

Rainer and his wife, Dr. Noelle Rainer, started up a 501(C)3 charity in August 2006 called, AV Hotline, [Abuse Victim Hotline, Inc., also known as ("AVH"). AVH merged with a large national hotline service in 2009.

AVH was the first "text message only" hotline service.

Of note, one hundred (100%) percent of the money donated to Abuse Victim Hotline, Inc. was used to run business operations. AVH offered preliminary support to victims of abuse via our toll-free hotline and confidential email service. Our volunteers guided texters to the best service for their needs.

AVH Agency Mission Statement

 

"We have access to an extensive national database of free/low-cost local services and resources specifically geared towards servicing victims of abuse. Our mission is twofold: first, comfort texters, and then guide them to the proper service or resource.

Our agency is unique in that we designed it to fill the gap between the victim and the proper agency to serve the victim. By applying our specialized expertise in the areas of law and psychology to each individual case and developing an understanding of a victim's specific needs through text messaging, we could provide personal guidance through preliminary legal and psychological support. AVH compiles annual reports containing contact information for services that provide for the needs of victims of abuse. See an example of our report here.

Once our support and guidance system was in place, AVH can direct texters to the most suitable local service. After the referral, we remain in contact with the client at his or her discretion. 

 

Safety

For the safety of our clients, we operate AVH from different locations and we change these locations daily. We only maintain administrative offices at 500 Beach Street, Revere, Massachusetts; we render no services on site.  

Philosophy

AVH's vision, leadership, and action empower people to advance their roles, rights and well-being.

 

AVH provides support services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence. We serve people without regard to age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, color or ability. We educate and inform children, youth and the community at large to prevent and eliminate the causes of domestic and sexual violence.

Our services are confidential and provided for free.

AVH embraces the belief that all individuals should have equal access to political, legal, economic, and social rights. We strive to create a community that embraces diversity, recognizes oppression, promotes empowerment, and supports the right of all individuals to self - determination. We eagerly work towards the day when violence against men, women and children is part of history rather than a part of our daily lives.

Diversity Statement

AVH welcomes, respects, and values diversity. We believe that as an organization that supports inclusion; we use the unique talents of all people to the greatest extent. This leads to increased job satisfaction and the highest quality of service. By integrating and appreciating diversity, we support our mission to create a safer community and a better world.

Community Outreach

 

Abuse Victim Hotline, Inc. offers workshops, which are open to prospective volunteers and all members of the community. Workshops are free, and attendees will receive free literature and training materials. 

Topics will include:

  • Intake training

  • Warning signs of abuse

  • Safety planning

  • The dynamics of power and control

To learn more about our community education programs, sign up for a seminar, or suggest a topic to discuss, please contact our business office.  Phone: (781) 656-0370; email:outreach@avhotline.org

Our founders are Attorney Robert K. Rainer and his wife, Noelle Rainer. Mr. Rainer has a B.A. from Brandeis University and a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School. Mrs. Rainer has a B.S. from the University of New Hampshire and two Masters degrees from Antioch New England. Mrs. Rainer will received her Doctorate in Psychology upon completion of her residency.

Mr. Rainer has been practicing law for 18 years and he dedicates a large percentage of his practice to representing victims of torts of urban injustice. Dr. Rainer has dedicated a portion of her psychology practice to the treatment of disorders and psychological injuries suffered by abuse victims.

Combining their expertise in helping victims of abuse in their respective professional careers with a genuine desire to help people that have suffered abuse but do not know where to turn for help spawned the creation of AVH.

"So many people do not know that they have a legal right to redress the abuse in their lives," according to Mr. Rainer. And, Dr. Rainer agrees, "the first step to ridding oneself from the shackles of abuse is to reach out and ask for help."

 

Mr. & Mrs. Rainer's individual experiences with abuse have been both devastating and empowering. They believe that by sharing their personal experiences and their expertise with hotline texters, they and AVH volunteers can assist victims in taking that first step towards obtaining the help that they need and deserve.

AVH, heroes among us 2009

(pictured above: AVH Founders Robert and Noelle Rainer with Boston Celtics' Captain Paul Pierce and members of the New York Knicks)

On November 29, 2007, the Boston Celtics presented with the 'Heroes Among Us Award' to the Rainers.

 

They gave the award to individuals who have contributed outstandingly to their community.

Click here to view an annual report.

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