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Ralph J. Comstock Jr. Light of Philanthropy Award

The Light of Philanthropy Award is given annually to individuals who reflect the spirit and philanthropic leadership of the late Ralph J. Comstock, Jr., demonstrating remarkable qualities in leadership, philanthropy, and humanitarianism benefiting St. Luke's and other worthy community charities.

Each year, the award recipients are honored at the St. Luke’s Ball.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please contact the St. Luke’s Health Foundation at (208) 381-2123 or by email.

From left to right: Laura Bettis, Harry Bettis, and Janelle Wise.

Our 2016 Light of Philanthropy Award Honorees

Harry Bettis, Laura Bettis, and Janelle Wise

This year, the St. Luke’s Health Foundation honored Harry Bettis, Laura Bettis, and Janelle Wise in recognition of their outstanding achievements in leadership, philanthropy, and humanitarianism.

Harry Bettis is a fourth-generation Idahoan with a pioneering spirit. He began his career taking over the family cattle ranch, and has been involved in the banking community in Idaho since 1971. As president and treasurer of the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation, Harry continues the philanthropic legacy established by his great-aunt, ensuring future generations have every opportunity to thrive and succeed.

Laura Bettis, like her father, is independent, grounded, and an avid rancher. She is a graduate of Duke University and the University of Idaho College of Law. Laura serves as secretary and co-administrator of the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation from the Donnelly, Idaho ranch she shares with her husband and two children. 

Janelle Wise, Harry's youngest daughter, is an adventurer, having visited every state and more than 40 countries. She studied psychology at Seattle Pacific University and has a master's degree in counseling from the University of Idaho. Janelle is vice president and co-administrator of the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation. She and her husband have four children.

Guided by Harry, Laura, and Janelle, the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation has become one of Idaho's largest charitable foundations. Since 1963, the Foundation has gifted over $90.5 million to hospitals and other health-related causes, social services, art, recreation, and educational scholarships.

About Ralph J. Comstock, Jr. 

Ralph J. Comstock, Jr. was a philanthropist, leader, and humanitarian. Born in 1917 in Rexburg, he grew up in Idaho Falls, Nampa, and Pocatello.  Ralph graduated from the University of Idaho Southern Branch (now Idaho State University) and then from the University of Utah, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. 

While living in Utah, Ralph met Bernice (Bee) Broomfield, who became his wife of more than 50 years. Together, Ralph and Bee raised three children, Ralph, Robert, and Christine.

Following a tour of service in the U.S. Army Medical Corps in World War II, Ralph entered the banking industry where he rose to the highest executive office with First Security Bank of Idaho before retiring in 1984. 

Ralph was the catalyst for a number of Idaho’s finest civic accomplishments. His most notable philanthropic endeavors were achieved in his service to Boise’s Morrison Center for the Performing Arts, St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute, and St. Luke’s Boise Medical Center.

A sportsman who enjoyed hunting, fishing, and skiing, Ralph’s heart was as big as the great outdoors. He was a bold man with big ideas, great passion, and tremendous enthusiasm. He died in 1995 after an exemplary career of professional and community service. St. Luke’s is proud to present the annual Light of Philanthropy Award in his honor.

Past Recipients

  • 2015: Bob Hoover
  • 2014: Susan Smith
  • 2013: James A. Kissler 
  • 2012: Marilyn Beck
  • 2011: A.J. and Susie Balukoff
  • 2010: Arthur F. "Skip" Oppenheimer
  • 2009: Marilyn Shuler
  • 2008: Anna Margaret Jones
  • 2007: Jim Everett 
  • 2006: Judge Stephen Trott
  • 2005: Carolyn Terteling-Payne
  • 2004: Alice Hennessey
  • 2003: Jim and Karin Nelson
  • 2002: Harold Thomas
  • 2001: A. Dale Dunn
  • 2000: Robert V. Hansberger
  • 1999: John and Dee Fery
  • 1998: Velma V. Morrison
  • 1997: J.R. and Esther Simplot
  • 1996: Ralph J. Comstock, Jr. and Larry Kissler

Articles & Resources

  • showing 3 of 3
  • Blog Post

    Bettis Family Honored for Tradition of Philanthropy

  • Blog Post

    St. Luke’s Ball Honors Longtime Community Philanthropist

  • Blog Post

    Humanitarian Susan Smith Receives St. Luke's Comstock Award

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When you give to St. Luke’s Health Foundation, you make an investment in community health. You help us provide the exceptional healthcare the people of our community deserve, ensuring that vital services are available close to home. We encourage you to get involved by making a financial gift, sponsoring or attending events, or volunteering your time.