About Us

Who We Are

The P.E.O. Sisterhood is one of the oldest women’s organizations in North America. It was founded on January 21, 1869 on the campus of Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, Iowa by seven avant-garde young women who wanted to preserve their friendship. This circle of kindred spirits, eventually expanded to include women off campus as well. The sisterhood has grown to over 225,000 active members in P.E.O. chapters found throughout the United States and Canada who are passionate about helping women advance through education, while supporting and motivating them. 

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, as well as to support each other.

What We Do

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. Since our founding in 1869, P.E.O. philanthropies have provided nearly $415 million in financial assistance to more than 122,000 women.

To find out more about our projects, visit https://www.peointernational.org/educational-support/

CT P.E.O. History

In 1959, ninety years after P.E.O. evolved in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, as a means of celebrating special friendships among seven young women, Connecticut State Chapter took its place in the P.E.O. Sisterhood.

It began in 1932 when two sisters from Oklahoma, Marjorie and Ruth Hays, came east to New Haven, CT. Separated from friends and family, they found they missed the fellowship of their P.E.O. sisters, and after chancing upon Jean Barrett, a P.E.O. from Iowa, the three quickly became interested in establishing a chapter.

In 1934 Chapter A was founded in New Haven. It followed that this would be a propitious place since many colleges and universities in the area, principally Yale, brought folks from around the world to study and teach there. It wasn’t until eight years later in 1942 that Chapter B was formed in Westport.