P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization)  is one of the oldest women's organizations in North America. What started as a bond of friendship among seven young women in 1869 has grown to almost 5,700 local chapters with over 200,000 members in the United States and Canada. A legacy passed down through generations of women, P.E.O. has deep roots in local communities and our influence reaches to all corners of the globe.

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.

Becoming a Member

P.E.O. membership is by invitation, offering potential members the opportunity to learn about the organization and chapters the opportunity to get to know prospective members and explain the personal commitment and responsibilities that come with membership. 

Membership begins at the local chapter. Women can become members after being introduced and invited by current members of a local chapter. Talking to a member in your community will give you an opportunity to find out more about their chapter and what P.E.O. means to them. If you do not know someone who is a member, please contact us.

Women over the age of 18 are eligible to be considered for P.E.O. membership. When a prospective member accepts the invitation to membership, a written acceptance must include an affirmation of her belief in God. P.E.O. does not discriminate against any woman based on age, ethnicity, religion or education. Our Sisterhood is based on friendship and mutual respect. P.E.O. is not a political or political action group. Individually, each member may work for causes of her choice outside of P.E.O. As members, we respect one another's political and/or religious views and activities. We meet to support each other, for fellowship and for the common and uniting purpose of assisting women with their educational goals.

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If you’re interested in learning more about starting a new chapter or beginning the process, complete the short form below.


Benefits of Membership

Personally, P.E.O. is a source of encouragement and support for women, both for members through chapter life and for women who benefit from P.E.O.'s philanthropic assistance. Collectively, P.E.O.s take great pride in providing educational opportunities for women all over the world.

P.E.O. is a respected, established women’s organization with a multi-generational membership, where members:

  • participate in philanthropic outreach to positively impact women’s lives in their community, state/province and worldwide
  • help to provide life-changing educational opportunities for women
  • are involved in opportunities for personal growth and advanced leadership skills
  • share in fun and friendship with wonderful and diverse women
  • become part of a Sisterhood, beyond their own chapter, which provides loving concern and support to all members

Active Membership

Even if a member is unable to fully participate in her local chapter, she can still support the work of the organization and its support of women's education by paying annual dues. To be considered an active member, dues must be paid to the member's local chapter by the end of February. If you do not have a contact person for the chapter, please contact membership@peodsm.org

Supporting Our Mission

As a philanthropic organization, P.E.O. supports six philanthropies that include ownership of Cottey College, a woman’s college in Nevada, Missouri, and five programs that provide higher educational assistance through scholarships, grants, awards and loans. Local P.E.O. chapter fundraisers and individual and chapter donations support our philanthropies, while local chapters seek applicants. Cumulatively, P.E.O. has given over $398 million in financial assistance to more than 119,000 women*. Click on the links below to learn more about our each of our philanthropic projects.


*As of April 2022