Some planners join boards. Others volunteer for local causes. Sun Group Wealth Partners in Irvine, Calif., decided to build bridges with its community by funding memberships for about 1,000 families of kids with special needs like autism to a unique educational museum called Pretend City.

“Independent wealth management firms that thrive and prosper get very closely involved with the communities they serve,” says Winnie Sun, founder of Sun Group with $138 million in AUM. “Very few causes are more important to any community than those related to children.  Anybody who has a family of [his or her] own can relate. Pretend City in particular is near and dear to my heart because it embraces every child, including those with special needs, and as such, it provides an invaluable service to families across Southern California.”

The museum, also based in Irvine, gives kids opportunities to learn through “purposeful play” across 17 interactive exhibits, guided by staff. The activities help children build early math skills, reading, and science skills, while fostering curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, organization, teamwork, self-confidence and socialization, according to the museum.

The Pretend City environment is designed to help children learn about the interconnectedness and diversity of the local community and the world around them, from understanding the needs of others to the wide array of potential professions to which they may aspire, Sun Group said in a statement.

“As a community-funded, guest-supported educational organization, we rely in large part on the generosity of others to support our programs,” Pretend City Executive Director Sandra Bolton said in a statement. “It is only through affiliations such as these that we are able to grow and expand the Pretend City experience for children and families in our community. We are very appreciative of the hard work of Winnie and her team.” 

Robert Moore, president and COO of Sun Group’s BD, LPL Financial, said the program “demonstrates the powerful commitment our advisors feel for their local communities, and shows the crucial role they can play for local families and charitable organizations through their philanthropic endeavors.”

Founded in 2011, Sun Group Wealth Partner focuses primarily on serving high-net-worth clients, including Fortune 500 company executives, those in the entertainment industry in Hollywood and nonprofit organizations throughout the West Coast.