P.E.O. was founded in 1869 by seven young women at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. Bonded in friendship and the belief in women’s education, this small group of seven friends soon expanded to include others within their community. From there it expanded across the United States and, by the 1920’s, north into Canada. Friendship remains the cornerstone of our Sisterhood, a legacy entrusted us by our founders. Today P.E.O numbers 220,000 women with about 5800 chapters throughout the United States and Canada.
The members of our Philanthropic Educational Organization celebrate the advancement of women, educate women through scholarships, grants, awards, loans and the stewardship of Cottey College, and motivate its members to achieve their highest aspirations. We promote continued opportunities for leadership and personal growth.
Our organization has assisted more than 116,000 women with nearly $383 million through our educational loans, grants and scholarships. To date, P.E.O. has awarded Educational Loan Fund dollars totaling nearly $230 million, International Peace Scholarships valued at $43.5 million, Program for Continuing Education grants in excess of $65 million, Scholar Awards of $30.1 million and P.E.O. STAR Scholarships of $14.9 million. In addition, over 9,000 women have graduated from Cottey.
Learn more about our unique organization at www.peointernational.org, the official website of our P.E.O. Sisterhood.
P.E.O. came to Oregon on August 12, 1905 with the organization of Chapter A, Portland. Six more chapters followed within the next six years in Elgin, Forest Grove, and Salem, along with three additional Portland chapters. Oregon State Chapter was organized in September 1911. Since then, Oregon State Chapter has grown to nearly 200 chapters with almost 7,000 members.
The Oregon State Chapter Charitable Trust holds three projects which award scholarships to Oregon women working to further their education at Oregon schools. For the 2021-2022 academic year, $410,925 was awarded to 216 women.