A six-generation commitment to the community was honored on Oct. 14 when the 2016 Ralph J. Comstock Jr. Light of Philanthropy Award was presented to Harry Bettis and his daughters Laura Bettis and Janelle Wise, who serve together as volunteer directors of the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation.
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.
The Bettis family is deeply rooted in Idaho. Harry Bettis’ great-grandfather, C.W. Moore, founded the First National Bank in 1867. His great aunt, Laura Moore Cunningham, was a civic leader and visionary for whom the foundation was created.
The Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation is one of Idaho’s oldest and largest foundations, and has awarded more than $90.5 million to education, hospitals and other medical causes, social services, art, and recreation. Nearly $38 million has benefited Idaho students through scholarships since 1963.
Doug Oppenheimer, chairman of the St. Luke’s Health Foundation board of directors, was pleased to honor the Bettis family. “This is a first for us – the Comstock Award has been presented to many worthy individuals and couples, but never to a family,” he said. “I am especially touched to have the opportunity to recognize two generations of philanthropists. It is a testament to their upbringings and families that Laura and Janelle have so seamlessly followed in their father’s footsteps.”
Kathy Moore, St. Luke's Treasure Valley chief executive officer, applauded the many recipients of the award. “In the past 20 years, we have recognized community leaders, philanthropists, politicians, and teachers, all of whom have made a difference to our community and to St. Luke's.
“St. Luke's has a long and rich history of involved community members – from our founders in 1902 to the thousands of donors, volunteers, and employees who we rely on today,” she said.
Previous Comstock Award winners who attended the gala include Susan Smith, Marilyn Beck, Skip Oppenheimer, Jim Everett, and Judge Stephen S. Trott.
Amy Stahl formerly worked in the Communications and Marketing department at St. Luke's.