In 2019, the Philanthropic Educational Organization is celebrating the 150th birthday of International Chapter of the P.E.O. Sisterhood. The international women’s organization has empowered more than 105,000 women with $321 million in educational financial assistance.
Chapter FL of Rush City, North Branch, Harris, Forest Lake, Andover, Cambridge, Stanchfield, Mora, Milaca and Dalbo joined the other 230,000 current members of P.E.O. from nearly 6,000 chapters across the United States and Canada in celebrating the historic milestone. Chapter FL has 45 members.
Since its inception in 1869, the nonprofit organization has helped more than 105,000 women pursue educational goals by providing more than $321 million in grants, scholarships, awards and loans and the stewardship of Cottey College. Through membership, the P.E.O. Sisterhood has brought together nearly 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 organizations in North America.
“Receiving the Program for Continuing Education award from P.E.O. allowed me to worry less about the financial aspect of graduate school and instead focus on being a good student, mom, wife and employee. I am extremely grateful for the grant I received as it has already opened the door to new career growth opportunities.” said Kristi Warner, from Chisago City.
“The P.E.O. members of Chapter FL stand on the shoulders of the generations of P.E.O. sisters who came before us,” said Marilyn Schoolmeesters, from Harris and president of Chapter FL. “They were dedicated to the mission of women supporting women, just as we are today. And it is a cause that will continue to be relevant for the next 150 years.”
Chapter FL has been a part of the communities listed above since it was organized in 2002. As well as monthly business/program meetings, some of its yearly events include an annual spring flower and garage sale and other fundraising activities with proceeds going directly to support women’s education.