The Kota Alliance is expanding!

Become a Kota Alliance Member or Affiliate Organization!

The Kota Alliance will move into  larger space at the Centre for Social Innovation in Chelsea!

( tentative date March 1.) 

Join us as an Affiliate or Member organization!

Presently, The Kota Alliance is located at a co-working table at CSI . We have been wanting to expand for some time, and now an opportunity is opening up under the auspices of CSI!  CSI has three successful co-working spaces in Toronto, and our experience over the last year with them here in New York has been very positive.  

Who should join the Kota Alliance? NGO’s working wholly or in part for gender equality and women’s empowerment, locally or globally, and endorsing the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 5.   (see

If you need co-working space now, you can apply to become a CSI member AND a Kota Alliance MEMBER. If you don't need space now, but want access to the other benefits offered by the Kota Alliance, join as an AFFILIATE  organization (see below). 

Benefits of working in the new space, dedicated to women's causes, include:

- support of a like-minded community

- relevant programming

- access to funding opportunities

- networking opportunities

- access to valuable partners

Admission is subject to approval by CSI. More details, including rental rates, will be available soon. Generally, if you join with Kota at a cluster table, the rent is lower than if you get your own hot desk space. Plus it's easier to collaborate and share resources, and more fun!

Joining as a MEMBER OR AFFILIATE of the Kota Alliance will give you additional benefits. For only $20 / year membership fee (per organization) you can take advantage of the following:

* Assistance from interns and volunteers helping out with program execution, event planning, fundraising, social media promotion, graphic design, web design and IT support, etc. 

* General liability and Event insurance for your informational/fundraising events if advertised as a Kota Alliance event

* Fiscal sponsorship available at modest cost for startup NGO’s

* Visibility for your organization on our website

* Free forwarding of your events and campaigns to our networks via our newsletters and social media

* Free attendance at Kota Day seminars and workshops and discounted tickets at fundraising and other ticketed events

* First access to become a founding partner (for access to space and services) when our own Center is realized (no binding commitment at this time is expected)

CSI Lounge.jpg

What YOU need to do:

  1. Go to and pay the $20 joining fee. (You can email us additional email addresses).

  2. Give us permission to put you on our email list (if you aren’t already)

  3. Allow us to use your logo and link to your website on our website and other outreach materials  (please email to

  4. If you like, reciprocally link our logo and website from your site.

Please let us know at your earliest convenience whether you would like to join us - and feel free to forward this to others you may think are the right fit. We look forward to working together with you all towards our common goals!


Jaana Rehnstrom, Founder and President
917 969 2051

Liz Brown, Managing Director
347 922 3551

The Mission of the Kota World Center for Women in New York City is to equalize the social, political and economic standing of women and men globally by providing the physical and virtual spaces, tools, and services required by non profits working on women’s empowerment.


Welcome UnTabooed to the Kota Alliance

We are excited to welcome Diandra Kalish, founder of UnTabooed - an organization committed to breaking the taboo surrounding menstruation by providing menstrual health education and sustainable menstrual products to women in need, and promoting conversation among people everywhere.


We asked Diandra to tell us more about her vision for UnTabooed and her plans for the future.

1 -What brought you to this topic of menstrual management? 

In January, I came across Lisa De Bode’s article in Al Jazeera America about the challenges that homeless women across America face during their periods. As some one who has donated many bags of food and clothing, it had never occurred to me to donate feminine hygiene products. I started to do some research, and learned that many developing nations were using reusable feminine hygiene products to make sure women had consistent access to products during their periods. At this point, I had been using a menstrual cup for over 2 years, and wondered why no one had tried to implement the same solution in the United States.


2 -You must have thought a lot about why menstruation is still such a taboo topic even in the US – could you share some thoughts with us? 

I think in the US it comes down to the fact that so many people, men and women, still find menstruation gross and embarrassing. If you use reusables you are removing the ’ick’ factor associated with periods. You are much more in tune with your body and your flow. You are not just disposing of it, which is why it is considered gross in the first place. I've even spoken to other people who are part of the movement (to break the stigma surrounding menstruation), who talk about the embarrassment they feel when shopping for pads or tampons. Even I blushed when talking about UnTabooed at the beginning, but now it's just another topic of conversation. 


3 -Many people are beginning to be aware of the importance of girls and women in developing countries having access to sanitary facilities and menstrual hygiene products. How large a problem is this in the US though? And for particular groups of women and girls? 

Many people don't realize that girls and women in the US are facing the same hardship when it comes to access to feminine hygiene products. Pads and tampons are subject to tax in most states (in New York City it is 8.75%), which makes products even harder to afford for women who are struggling to make ends meet. Additionally, these products aren't covered by food stamps. Low income women, especially those living in shelters, are typically hit the hardest. They rely on the shelters for many resources, but shelters often don't receive enough pads and tampons through donations to serve their clients. UnTabooed works specifically to reach this group of people, to alleviate the stress of wondering if they will have products each month.


4 - How do you plan to grow in 2016 to address this problem and how can we help (besides donating, of course)? 

We are hoping to expand to other cities in the USA in 2016! We also would like to bring our workshops to more college and university campuses. Please contact us if you are interested in being involved as a volunteer or a workshop host. Talk to everyone you know about periods to help us break the taboo, and wear around this awesome #ReusePeriod to help raise awareness for our cause. 

Visit to learn even more!

NoVo Foundation to Fund Women’s Building in New York City

           This week saw the announcement by Governor Cuomo and the NoVo Foundation of a Women’s Building, to be housed in the former New York State women’s prison in the Chelsea neighborhood on Manhattan’s west side.

           This is good news, because the women’s movement is growing and this kind of center has been needed for a long time. Gloria Steinem, whose dream is now about to come true, is featured prominently on the Women’s Building website, along with leaders of established organizations working for gender equality and women’s empowerment.

           However, the building (on 20th St and 11th Avenue) was damaged during hurricane Sandy and according to the FAQ page, it may take 4-5 years before tenants can move in.

           The Kota project supporters may be confused and bewildered: should we stop what we are doing? The answer is no, although we need to connect and collaborate with the Women’s Building so we don’t waste either human or financial resources on duplicative efforts. We have been aware of each others’ activities since the Women’s Building project really took off at about the same time as Kota.

1 - The truth is, the field is growing, as women all over the world are becoming more aware of their rights and capable of fighting their own fight for better health, education, equal treatment in the personal, community, and economic spheres. New organizations are forming every day. Many are small but useful for grassroots work. And many of them need to be in, or visit, New York.  Although the Women’s Building’s 100 000sf may seem huge, we won’t be surprised when it fills up quickly!

2 - The Kota Alliance’s core constituency is, rather than larger, established NGO’s, these not-yet-established organizations and projects. We will help incubate them to be efficient contributors to realize the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

3 - The Kota Alliance Business Plan, recently completed, also envisions a hotel/hostel/B&B component to address the huge need for affordable lodging for visitors of these national and global organizations to New York. The zoning for the Women’s Building does not allow for any kind of residential component.

4 – The Kota Center will function on a social enterprise model, with income-generating activities subsidizing rates for member organizations. This leaves more money for the actual programs of our organizations, ultimately benefiting women, their families, and societies. The social enterprise model may also work as a blueprint for similar centers in less affluent societies, where donor funding is not as available as in the US.

5 - Due to the international nature of Kota’s constituency, we will aim to find a building with good access to the UN.

           While we wait for the realization of our dreams, we encourage interested parties to contact us with ideas for interim space and helpful services we can develop in the meantime. Donors and volunteers are welcome!


Jaana Rehnström

Support The Kota Project and enjoy a night of Dinner and Theater!

Thank you to the winners and to The Public Theater for supporting Kota!

Bid now on the exclusive chance to see Academy Award Winner Lupita Nyong’o make her New York stage debut in the powerful play ECLIPSED at the Public Theater.

  • Bidding has now moved to Charitybuzz: 4 tickets, plus pre-theater dinner at Kyo Ya with Dr. Jaana Rehnstrom, founder of the Kota Alliance.
  • Deadline:  EXTENDED TO October 21st, 4:00PM EST

           The Kota Alliance in Partnership with the Public Theater is excited to announce a unique opportunity to see Eclipsed – the stunning, deeply moving play by award-winning Zimbabwean-Americal Playwright/Actress Danai Gurira, directed by Obie Award winner Liesl Tommy.  Bid on Charitybuzz for FOUR TICKETS to the 8:00PMperformance on Thursday, October 22nd, with an audience talk-back after the show, and pre-theater dinner with Dr. Jaana Rehnstrom, founder of The Kota Alliance at the exclusive Japanese restaurant Kyo Ya.

           Amid the chaos of the Liberian Civil War, the captive wives of a rebel officer band together to form a fragile community – until the balance of their lives is upset by the arrival of a new girl. Drawing on reserves of wit and compassion, ECLIPSED reveals distinct women who must discover their own means of survival in this deeply felt portrait of women finding and testing their own strength in a hostile world of horrors not of their own making. South African born Liesl Tommy directs, and making her New York stage debut, Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o stars as “The Girl” in this powerful story of survival and resistance.