A Boston entrepreneur plans on establishing a new foundation, with assets of $40 million, to deal exclusively with problems of aging and the elderly.
The foundation, to be known as the Villers Foundation, is being formed by Philippe Villers, a 47-year-old industrialist who is providing the organization's assets.
Formal announcement of the foundation's formation has been held up pending selection of an executive director. Ronald F. Pollack, dean of the Antioch Law School, reportedly is the leading candidate for the job. Pollack was out of Washington yesterday and could not be reached for comment.
Villers declined to comment yesterday on the foundation. A prospectus written in July 1981 described the foundation's purpose as reshaping public attitudes and policies concerning the elderly. "The foundation," according to the prospectus, "will have $40 million in assets with no rigid timetable for the duration of its work, but with the expectation that the foundation will have a major impact in bringing about change over at least two decades."
Villers, a graduate of Harvard with a master's degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was a high executive in a successful computer software company before starting his present firm, Automatix, Inc., a company that builds industrial robots.
With assets of $40 million, the Villers Foundation would be among the largest 5 percent of the 22,500 foundations in the United States. The only other foundation concentrating exclusively on problems of aging and the elderly is the Retirement Research Foundation in Park Ridge, Ill., an offshoot of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, one of the largest in the country.
The foundation's board of directors includes Villers and his wife, Kate, Sen. Paul Tsongas (D-Mass.), Evelyn Murphy, a former Massachusetts state official currently running for lieutenant governor there; Carroll Estes, a sociologist at the University of California in San Francisco and author of "The Aging Enterprise" and Laura Monroe, a staff attorney at the Greater Boston Elderly Legal Services. According to Monroe, designation of more directors awaits the installation of an executive director.
Although the foundation's assets are insufficient to consider it a major foundation, one expert said it had the potential to be an "important new force in shaping public policy for the elderly.
"This foundation is going to change how old people are treated in this country and the quality of their lives," Monroe said. "We're going to attack that problem from every which way."