A Tri-Delta and P.E.O. Discusses the P.E.O. Loan Fund, 1929

Winifred B. Chase, a member of the Iota Chapter of Delta Delta Delta at the University of Michigan was also a member of Chapter A, Michigan, of the P.E.O. Sisterhood. She served as Chairman of the Tri Delta’s Fiftieth Anniversary Fund. As part of her duties, she wrote a series of articles on scholarships and other loan funds for the The Trident, Tri Delta’s magazine. This is the article she wrote in 1929 about the P.E.O. Loan Fund.

“Probably the largest sisterhood in the United State which is not a part of some fraternal organization like the Masons, is the P.E.O. group. The organization started sixty years ago through the efforts of seven college girls in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. While it is not a college organization in the literal sense, at the present time, only such women are invited to its membership who manifest an interest in its various objectives, three of which are primarily of direct educational value:

“1. P.E.O has the largest loan fund in the United States available for educational purposes of college women.

“2. P.E.O. completely financed, built and equipped a new library at Mount Pleasant as a memorial to her founders, the seven girls at Iowa Wesleyan College.

“3. P.E.O. is now sponsoring and helping to finance Cottey College at Nevada, Missouri – a junior college for young women. It is non-sectarian but with highest character and Christian standards.

“The amount of tangible and constructive work done by P.E.O. is almost beyond belief and it has all been done so quietly and unostentatiously that the world outside knows little or nothing of it. Tri Delta is interested primarily in the educational fund, but since many Delta women are also P.E.O. women, including a past president, Mrs. Hortense Imboden Hudson, it may be of interest to all of you to know the objectives of P.E.O. and their voluntary contribution of at least $1.00 a year to this educational fund and other voluntary monthly contributions to the library and college funds. Many legacies are also left to P.E.O. for her various activities.

The actual fund which started the educational fund was a few hundred dollars left over from a celebration of P.E.O. Day at the St. Louis-Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904. It was not used as a loan fund until 1907 and the idea met with such a splendid reception that an immediate convention response raised the amount to $800. In March 1929, that $800 has been increased to almost $450,000 by voluntary contributions of $1.00 and up by each member annually. During those twenty-two years, 2470 girls have had loans. These girls are not all P.E.O. members, not the children of members, but worthy and capable young women recommended by teachers and other responsible people to chapters of P.E.O. Each girl is sponsored, to some extent, by the chapter in her community or other near-by cities. They get in touch with the girl and befriend her in many ways, besides presenting her name to the national organization which handles the loan fund.

“Since some states have many more chapters than others, each loan requested is judged by its individual merits alone. The amount loaned may not exceed $400 per year, and the interest rate is 4%  payable annually.

“Since almost all college women are under legal age until these last years in college, it is almost impossible for them to borrow money through the usual business channels unless they have collateral or real estate and very few college girls would have that either.

“It is interesting to note that here, as with most loan funds, administered by the colleges and universities, the women who borrow from the funds repay their loans very well – no  money it lost, except when death or some other serious disaster overtakes the girl. In that case the chapter of P.E.O. which sponsored the girls has often paid back her loan, but again this is not obligatory. However, all P.E.O. women are so proud of their splendid loan fund, that they do all they can to help keep it intact and actively at worked.”

Winifred Chase, pictured above, served Tri Delta as a National Alliance Officer from 1919-25, Historian from 1925-28, and Fiftieth Anniversary Fund Chairman from  1929-36. In 1929, the Fiftieth Anniversary Thanksgiving Fund was launched at Founders’ Day celebrations. The funds were to be used for Fellowships to outstanding Tri Deltas engaged in advanced studies.

For more information on the P.E.O. Loan Fund see this post, http://wp.me/p20I1i-gS


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