P.E.O. Media Fact Sheet

International Chapter of the P.E.O. Sisterhood
Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O). 
Celebrating 150 Years of Women Helping Women Reach for the Stars

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Media Fact Sheet

  • Through membership, the P.E.O. Sisterhood has brought together more than a half a million women in the United States and Canada who are passionate about helping women advance through education, while supporting and motivating them.In addition to the educational philanthropies, the P.E.O. Sisterhood provides a framework of support and community for all members.
  • What started with a bond of friendship among seven women in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, is now one of the oldest women’s organization in North America with close to 6,000 chapters.
  • Headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, members are passionate about P.E.O.’s mission: to 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.
  • The P.E.O. Sisterhood is a nonprofit organization that has helped more than 105,000 women pursue educational goals by providing over $321 million in educational assistance, making a difference in women’s lives through six philanthropies and a foundation:  
  • P.E.O. Educational Loan Fund (ELF)—A revolving loan fund established in 1907 to lend money to qualified women students to assist them in securing a higher education. Has loaned $195.4 million.
  • P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship (IPS)—A fund established in 1949 to provide scholarships for international women students to pursue graduate study in the U.S. and Canada. Has provided $37.9 million in scholarships.
  • P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education (PCE)—Established in 1973 to provide need-based grants to women in the U.S. and Canada whose education has been interrupted and who find it necessary to return to school to support themselves and/or their families. Has given $55.3 million in grants.
  • P.E.O. Scholar Awards (PSA)—Established in 1991 to provide substantial merit-based awards for women of the U.S. and Canada who are pursuing a doctoral-level degree at an accredited college or university. Has awarded $24.5 million in scholarships.
  • P.E.O. STAR Scholarship (STAR) —Established in 2009 to provide scholarships for exceptional high school senior women to attend an accredited postsecondary educational institution in the U.S. or Canada in the next academic year. Has given $8.5 million in scholarships.
  • 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.
  • The P.E.O. Foundation is a nonprofit corporation established in 1961 to encourage tax-deductible giving to the educational and charitable projects of the P.E.O. Sisterhood. It is a service to the Sisterhood.

P.E.O. Organizational Structure

  • International Chapter of the P.E.O. Sisterhood is governed by a five-member volunteer executive board, with Sue Baker, Ohio, currently serving as the President of International Chapter (through Convention of International Chapter in September 2019).
  • Local chapters report to state, provincial or district chapters that are governed by International Chapter.


Stats as of April, 2018

Last updated: 11-2018