P.E.O. is a philanthropic organization where women celebrate the advancement of women; educate women through scholarships, grants, awards, loans, and stewardship of Cottey College; and motivate women to achieve their highest aspirations.
P.E.O. was founded on January 21, 1869, by seven students at Iowa Wesleyan University in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. This circle of kindred spirits – bonded by their enthusiasm for women’s opportunities – eventually expanded to include women off campus, as well. Today, P.E.O. has grown from that tiny membership of seven to almost a quarter of a million members in chapters throughout the U.S. and Canada, with headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa.
Friendship is the cornerstone of P.E.O. – it is the legacy left by our Founders and it thrives in our unique Sisterhood. P.E.O. exists to be a source of encouragement and support for women to realize their potential in whatever worthwhile endeavor they choose.
True to the mission of promoting educational opportunities for women, education continues to be the primary philanthropy of the P.E.O. Sisterhood. In fact, the P.E.O. Sisterhood proudly sponsors no less than six international philanthropies, or projects, designed to assist women with their educational goals.
As a result, P.E.O. is clearly making a difference in the lives of women all over the world. More than 109,000 women have benefited from our organization’s educational grants, loans, awards, special projects and stewardship of Cottey College. As of April, 2023, P.E.O. has awarded:
|Educational Loan Fund dollars totalling more than||$243 million|
|International Peace Scholarships are more than||$48 million|
|Program for Continuing Education grants are more than||$70 million|
|Scholar Awards are more than||$34 million|
|P.E.O. STAR Scholarships are more than||$20 million|
Cottey College A nationally ranked, fully accredited, independent, liberal arts/sciences college for women located in Nevada, Missouri, has been owned/supported by P.E.O. since 1927 and offers baccalaureate and associate degrees in a variety of majors. Cottey College, a debt-free institution, welcomes women from around the world. *status from the September/October 2019 P.E.O. Record.