You may be wondering what P.E.O. is. Chances are, you know many P.E.O.'s, but don't really know what our organization is about, or what it does. That's not entirely by accident. Until fairly recently, P.E.O. was considered a 'secret' society. However, over the last several years P.E.O. International has really been encouraging us to share the good news about our sisterhood. There are, after all, only three things that must be kept secret...and NO, I'm not about to spill the beans on them!
So what exactly is P.E.O.?
Simply put, P.E.O. is a philanthropic organization which supports higher education for women. Our sisterhood was founded in 1869 by seven women at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa who were annoyed because two of them had been turned down by the sorority. (What's the phrase about well-behaved women and the history books?) They wanted to build an organization that welcomed all....and they certainly succeeded in that goal. Over the years P.E.O. has grown from a small friendship society to an International organization with approximately a quarter of a million members in the United States and Canada which supports five main projects.
Our projects are:
- P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education (PCE) - need-based scholarships to women who's college education has been interupted.
- P.E.O. Educational Loan Fund (ELF) - very low interest rate loans available to women seeking their post-graduate education.
- P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship Fund (IPS) - scholarships to assist international women in seeking their education in the US, with the caviat that they are to return home to use that education.
- P.E.O. Scholar Awards - merit-based scholarships for post-graduate work. (Trust me, these women are brilliant.)
- Cottey College - a private tw0-year women's college, located here in Missouri. Would you believe that a trip to Europe is included in their second year at no additional cost? 10-1 student-teacher ratios, an executive chef and full transference to other schools are all among the perks.
You can find more information about our projects and about our sisterhood at P.E.O. Internationale's website. Also, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions...or just find a P.E.O. to ask! Chances are, she'd love to talk about it!
And thank you for letting me get on my soapbox today!