The eight Mason City Chapters of P.E.O., a philanthropic educational organization for women, established a scholarship to assist a non-traditional, female student. P.E.O. was founded in 1869, placing it among the oldest women’s organizations in North America. Originally, P.E.O. began as a friendship society at Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. P.E.O. has evolved into one of the largest nonsectarian, community-based organizations with nearly 6,000 chapters and almost a quarter million members. P.E.O. supports six philanthropies that include ownership of Cottey College, and five programs that provider higher educational assistance through scholarships, grants and loans, all assisting women in furthering their education.