As we disrupt the cycle of gang violence, we imagine a world where kids grow up with hope, opportunity, and joy.


Ten years ago, Rise Up Industries' co-founders were concerned with the apparent lack of support for incarcerated individuals upon their release from prison, and the resulting high recidivisim rate. After research and networking with related nonprofits, the founders incorporated Rise Up Industries on May 13, 2013. Rise Up Industries is modeled after Homeboy Industries, the nation's largest gang intervention and reentry program.


What started in a garage with one CNC machine, one program member, and the support of a committed group of volunteers, is now expanding to a 20,000 sf facility with capacity for 14 CNC machines and a program enrollment capacity of 24 members. 


Big Night Out is Rise Up Industries' most important fundraiser of the year. Join our 10th anniversary celebration!





Saturday, September 23rd, 2023

Cocktail Reception | 5:30pm

Dinner Program | 7:00pm


International Ballroom, San Diego Mission Bay Resort

1775 E Mission Bay Dr, San Diego, CA 92109

*Parking is free and readily available on hotel premises.



Business/Business Cocktail


Want to book a reservation with the San Diego Mission Bay Resort?

The Resort has offered a 10% discount to Big Night Out guests the night of the 23rd. Group code: RUIG0923

Click here to reserve your room.



Contact Nicole at 619-457-0790







Author of Mother California:
A Story of Redemption Behind Bars


Rise Up Industries was introduced to Kenneth Hartman through Joe Tapia, Reentry Program '19 Alumnus. Joe and Kenneth did time together, and their friendship grew from there. Kenneth authored the compelling memoir Mother California: A Story of Redemption Behind Bars (2009).


In 1980, Kenneth was convicted of murder at the age of 19 for beating a homeless man to death, and he was sentenced to life in prison without parole. He turned his life around while in prison, and in 2017, he was one of three prisoners in CA to have their life without parole sentences commuted by the governor. Kenneth's story is the story of a man who did not succumb to the darkness of incarceration. It offers proof that there is no such thing as a life beyond redemption.


Kenneth spends his time as a freelance Writer and Director of Advocacy at the Transformative In-Prison Workgroup.





Reentry Program '23 Alum,
Reentry Advocate, & Juvenile Mentor


Michael is slated to graduate from the Reentry Program in July 2023! A San Diegan native, Michael is passionate about higher education for people who've been incarcerated. When asked about life experiences that have shaped him the most, Mike looks back on his childhood. "My dad left when I was ten. There was a lot of physical abuse. My mom had to do it on her own. That's when I was put into the system - foster homes, group homes. I had lots of anger. I first got connected to gangs when I was 12 years old while in juvy. I gravitated there for survival."


Michael has excelled in the Reentry Program and is enrolled in classes at SDSU. He aims to get a BA in Sociology with an emphasis in Criminal Justice. Longer term, Michael would love to influence criminal justice reform policy and support youth impacted by the justice system. He has spoken about his reentry experience through numerous avenues including Monarch School classes, juvenile detention facilities through the Prison Education Project, Practical Machinist, and REDF.





Michael served as the Executive Director of San Diego’s “inner-city” Jackie Robinson Family YMCA for twenty-two years, then on April of 2019, the YMCA of San Diego County announced he had been promoted to a new role as Vice-President for Mission Advancement to help the Y better serve all communities throughout San Diego County.


On January 4, 2021, Michael Brunker retired from the YMCA to reFIRE as the first Chief Executive Officer at The Third Option City. Then, on August 2, 2021, Michael transferred CEO responsibilities to Third Option Founder Miles McPherson, to become Chief Mission Advancement Officer - a new position that helped lead Third Option City Strategy of uniting the country one city at a time by developing loving relationships honoring similarities and celebrating uniqueness by providing a journey of self discovery and by forming truth-telling partnerships.


Named the 2019 “Mr. San Diego” for his tireless efforts to uplift and motivate disadvantaged youth, Michael is sure to weave together an evening marked by compassion and wisdom.


September 23, 2023
5:30 PM (PDT)

San Diego Mission Bay Resort
1775 E Mission Bay Dr, San Diego, CA 92109

Get directions


*Interested in event sponsorship? Find sponsorship types listed here or contact Nicole Wriedt, Development Director, at 619-457-0790.

Visionary Sponsor

Leader Sponsor

Patron Sponsor