PEO recently celebrated 90 years
In December 2020, P.E.O. Chapter AA of Merrill celebrated its 90th birthday via a Zoom call with its members. Party favors were mailed out in advance so all could celebrate together, and they spent the time reminiscing and sharing stories from over the years.
P.E.O., a Philanthropic Educational Organization, was founded in 1869 as a seven-member sorority at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. The organization was originally rooted in the philosophy and institutions of the Methodist Church, which actively promoted women’s rights and education in America during the 19th century.
The sisterhood today aims to serve women worldwide and welcomes women of all races, religions, and backgrounds. It has evolved into a diverse, community-based organization with nearly 6,000 chapters and more than 230,000 members in each of the 50 United States, District of Columbia, and in six Canadian provinces. It is a group of women celebrating the advancement of women; educating women through scholarships, grants, awards for continuing education, and loans; and motivating women to achieve their highest aspirations. Through stewardship, they also support Cottey College, an independent, baccalaureate-granting liberal arts and sciences institution, since 1927.
Students need not be members to apply for funding, scholarships, grants, or loans. Over the years, Chapter AA has been honored to provide assistance to local women to obtain awards of various nature and size. Recent recipients are Brooke Bushor, Bailey Iwen, Katie Purmal, and Jourdyn Mootz Koebe.
Historically, P.E.O. held an annual fundraising auction to financially support their projects but was unable to do so in 2020 due to COVID. Instead, they sold flower baskets during the month of January to generate funding, and the group wants to extend a big thank you to everyone who has supported P.E.O. through the years by attending the auction and to all those who ordered flowers and/or sent donations to them this year. For more information regarding P.E.O., visit www.peointernational.org or contact any of the local Chapter officers: Kathy Spencer (President), Carolyn Saunders, Polly Koebe, Kay Smith, Dawn Schroder Silvela, and Kelly Purmal.