In 1998, Brenda Exon made a surprising discovery: Philadelphia has its own flag! She hoped that this discovery would be utilized to ignite a citywide Civic Pride movement!  

But it wasn't just the existence of the flag that struck her—it was its untapped potential as a symbol of unity and pride for the city.

Inspired by the flag's meaningful motto and powerful symbols, Brenda saw an opportunity to foster a spirit akin to the original "Holy Experiment" envisioned by William Penn, Philadelphia’s founder. This would be a new “Civic Experiment!”  

Our Story

A Discovery and A Vision

Holding the flag in her hand, Brenda marveled, "This flag isn't just a piece of fabric; it's a universal connector—a rare and powerful symbol that brings us all together."

Her passion grew as she learned about Social Capital—the webs of trust and connection that bind communities together—and realized that the Philadelphia Civic Flag could be a profound tool to enhance it.

This realization led her to conceptualize the PHILLY Flag Campaign, aimed at integrating the flag into every facet of city life—from schools and businesses to households and city events—making it a unifying force across the metropolitan area.

A Universal Connector Uncovered

An Inspiring, Rare Discovery

Driven by questions about the impact of a citywide civic flag, Brenda envisioned a series of initiatives:

  • Could a designated annual day for the flag, celebrated as a symbol of unity, inspire citizens to renew their commitment to improving the city?
  • Would celebrating the flag boost civic pride and foster a safer, more caring urban environment?
  • What if there was a "Proud to be Philadelphian" curriculum in schools to promote civic identity?

These questions laid the groundwork for what would become an annual celebration of the Philadelphia Civic Flag, enhancing community engagement and pride. 

Pioneering the Civic Experiment

Launching a Citywide Movement for Unity and Pride

Brenda's vision was clear: to measure the flag’s impact through tangible outcomes like increased visibility of the flag in public and private spaces and improvements in community metrics such as school engagement and crime rates.

The Philly Pride Lady

A Beloved Figure Fostering Civic Pride and Unity

Driven by her vision, Brenda launched several initiatives, including advocating for the annual celebration of Philadelphia Flag Day, and educational programs that integrated the flag's history and symbolism into school curricula and community activities.

Her efforts were characterized by her enthusiastic and engaging approach, which naturally led to her becoming an emblematic figure in the community.

Her role as "The Philly Pride Lady" solidified as she became increasingly visible in the community, attending events dressed in flag-themed apparel, leading flag-raising ceremonies, and conducting presentations that educated people about the significance of the Philadelphia Civic Flag.

With a newfound role as "The Philly Pride Lady," Brenda set out to spread the word and rally the city around its flag.

Her enthusiasm and commitment led to the creation of Partners For Civic Pride, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the Philadelphia Civic Flag as a symbol of love and unity.

PFCP was founded on the belief that connecting Philadelphians to their flag could catalyze a positive, measurable change, uniting the city through a shared symbol of identity.

Establishing Partners For Civic Pride

Uniting a City & Promoting Civic Pride

Today, we know that the Philly Flag is the first of its kind in America, thanks to the research of Brenda Exon with *validating support from esteemed Philadelphia Historian, James Mundy. Bolstered by this new discovery, Partners For Civic Pride continues to build on Brenda’s initial vision, fostering a sense of community and pride of place that resonates throughout Philadelphia. The organization remains committed to its original goals, promoting the flag not just as an important historical artifact but as a living emblem of the city’s aspirations and values.

"Philly has a flag! Let the new Civic Experiment begin!" Brenda's rallying cry continues to inspire Philadelphians, affirming that unity through brotherly love is not just possible but thriving under the banner of the Philadelphia Civic Flag.

Looking Forward

The Journey of Civic Pride

*The PA Historical and Museum Commission verified Brenda Exon's initial “first City Flag” findings, Feb. 21, 2014, and approved a City Marker to proclaim this historic fact! A secondary review of Exon's research was verified by the esteemed Philadelphia Historian, James Mundy, Philadelphia Union League. Exon and Mundy have retained their research partnership on all things Philly Flag (2024).
At Partners For Civic Pride, we are guided by the vision and dedication of remarkable individuals whose contributions have left an indelible mark on our organization and the wider Philadelphia community. We honor two such luminaries, whose legacies continue to inspire and drive us.

Our Legacy of Leadership

Remembering Those Who Shaped Our Journey

H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest

May 29, 1930 – August 5, 2018

Will Smith Sr.

November 24, 1939 – November 7, 2016