Chris Jensen, delegate from Chapter BJ, Audubon attended the 128th annual Convention of Iowa State Chapter P.E.O. Sisterhood held June 5. Also attending were Susan Osvald, Margee Shafer and Sharon Winterboer. With the theme “Radiate All Light Possible,” Sue Aanes, Chapter EV, New London, presided over 550 delegates and visitors for the first ever virtual convention.
Attendees viewed workshops and heard from recipients of P.E.O.’s six philanthropies and the Iowa P.E.O. Project Fund, Inc. The convention concluded with the installation of the 2021-2022 executive board officers headed by president, Carol Goldsmith, CB, Ida Grove; vice president, Carrie Wilkinson, OP, Cedar Rapids; organizer Christin Smith, HL, Dubuque; treasurer, Lisa Riendl, OV, Cedar Falls; and secretary, Pam Schulz, KK, Cedar Rapids.
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 each other to achieve their highest aspirations. There are approximately 6,000 chapters in the United States and Canada with nearly 250,000 members. Iowa is the second largest state chapter with 363 chapters and nearly 15,000 members.
P.E.O. is one of the pioneer societies for women and was founded on Jan. 21, 1869 by seven young women at Iowa Wesleyan University in Mount Pleasant. Originally a small campus friendship society, P.E.O. soon blossomed to include women off-campus. Today, P.E.O. has grown from that tiny membership of seven to almost a quarter of a million members in chapters in the United States and Canada. The P.E.O. Sisterhood is passionate about its mission: promoting educational opportunities for women. The sisterhood proudly makes a difference in women’s lives with six international philanthropies: P.E.O. Educational Loans Fund; P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship Fund; P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education; P.E.O. Scholar Awards; P.E.O. STAR Scholarship, and the ownership of Cottey College in Nevada, Mo. The International headquarters of the P.E.O. Sisterhood is in Des Moines.
Chapter BJ, Audubon is a very active group. They have been actively seeking women who are continuing their education. Several area women have benefitted with grants and/or loans from P.E.O.