What is Kota?

Kota seeks to become a World Center for Women – an incubator and co-working space in New York City for not-for-profit organizations, social enterprises, and women-owned businesses whose local or global mission is to improve and empower women’s lives. The Center is to provide subsidized office, conference, and event space in New York City to qualified women-focused organizations allowing them to channel critical resources toward their programs in the field. It will be a hub for like-minded organizations, and an incubator for fruitful collaborations. It will also include lodging for visitors and other services, which will help us subsidize the costs.

The Kota Project became the Kota Alliance when it was officially formed in March 2015, a new 501c3 not-for-profit. Organizations working for gender equality and women’s empowerment are invited to contact us to discuss forms of partnership and collaboration, even now before the Center itself is created. Working together from the start, we will get there faster!

We have chosen our name very deliberately.

“Kota” (pronounced “koh-tah”) has several meanings:

  • It is a traditional tipi-like dwelling of Sami people in Northern Europe

  • it means “allies” in a Lakota Sioux Native American language

  • it means “core of an apple” in Finnish; and “city” in Indonesian.

The Kota Alliance aims to empower women around the world by embodying these words - becoming a center for like-minded people and organizations, fostering alliances, and creating a World Center for Women, a core so to speak, in the Big Apple. The Kota Alliance logo is a simplified representation of these meanings, depicting the view of a traditional "kota" viewed from center up.


The Kota Alliance started as the Kota Project – an initiative of Finland Center Foundation (FCF) to establish a World Center for Women in New York City as a hub for nonprofit organizations that work towards women’s empowerment. It is thoroughly documented that women play a critical role in every aspect of international development. Peacebuilding and peacekeeping, sustainable development and poverty reduction, responsible and accountable governance, etc. cannot be accomplished without healthy, literate, and independent women. While the UN Millennium Development Goal #3 (To Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women) had relative success, there is much work left to be done to improve women’s lives around the world. In the UN's newer Sustainable Development Goals, Goal #5 seeks to "achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls." We believe that only by empowering women can we protect human rights, achieve robust and sustainable economic development, and lay the foundation for stable, healthy societies worldwide.

Finland has always been a pioneer and world leader when it comes to women’s issues, such as voting rights, health, education and equal pay. Because of this, the New York-based organization FCF, as ambassadors of these Finnish values, launched the Kota Project in 2012 and helped catalyze it into a separate U.S. not-for-profit organization. As such, it is now a local New York organization with global reach, drawing on the talents of the diverse New York and international community seeking to empower women and girls.

Download our Annual Report 2018 below!