Illinois State Chapter

P.E.O. Sisterhood

The P.E.O. Sisterhood was founded on January 21, 1869, by seven young female students who were enrolled at Iowa Wesleyan University in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. What once was a small group of college students has become an international organization dedicated to promoting educational and personal growth opportunities for women.

Membership in a local P.E.O. chapter provides friendship and support for more than a quarter of a million women throughout the United States and Canada. Illinois State Chapter was organized in April 1903 after nine chapters were established in the state. Today, there are more than 300 chapters in Illinois with an average of 37 members per chapter.

Cottey College, a women’s college located In Nevada, Missouri, is owned and supported by the P.E.O. Sisterhood. There are five additional educational projects administered by the organization – the Education Loan Fund, International Peace Scholarship, Program for Continuing Education, P.E.O. Scholar Awards and the STAR Scholarship. These five projects have assisted more than 122,000 women and provided more than $415 million in grants, loans, and scholarships.

In addition, two projects administered by Illinois State Chapter have benefited Illinois residents. The Lulu Corkhill Williams Friendship Fund provides grants of up to $2,400 to residents of Illinois. The P.E.O. Illinois Home Fund provides grants of up to $6,000 to senior women facing housing issues.