Philanthropic Educational Organization, or PEO, International is a society that encourages the advancement of women through education. As of 2015, the group consists of nearly 250,000 members in chapters across the United States and Canada.
Founded in 1869 in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, the PEO Sisterhood focuses on promoting educational opportunities for women through grants, loans, awards, special projects and the stewardship of Cottey College. Thus far the Sisterhood has helped nearly 90,000 women from around the world. As of 2015, the Sisterhood has given over $200 million in loans and scholarships. Award recipients do not have to be a member of PEO International, the recipients are typically sponsored by a local chapter to allow the sisters to maintain a meaningful role in the student's life.