Press Release

United States Tops Philanthropic Giving According to the 2016 BNP Paribas Individual Philanthropy Index
San Francisco, CA. | Apr 25, 2016

Index Analyzes Giving in United States, Europe, Asia, and Middle East
Results in Most Regions Show Rise in Philanthropic Giving Over the Past Four Years
Impact Investing and Collaborative Philanthropy are Top Trends

According to the fourth annual BNP Paribas Individual Philanthropy Index by Forbes Insights, the United States remains the leader globally in personal philanthropy. Europe comes in as a close second, followed by Asia, with the Middle East achieving the sharpest increase in philanthropic giving. In partnership with parent company BNP Paribas Wealth Management, Bank of the West Wealth Management uses the Philanthropy Index to better serve its clients with an understanding of the goals and objectives of the world’s most impactful philanthropists.

Respondents to this year’s survey – philanthropists from four continents, each with more than $5 million in investable assets – seek to affect permanent change through their charitable giving. They are focused on creating sustainable outcomes for the organizations benefiting from philanthropy, and are dedicated to using new and innovative ways to accomplish those goals.

“Philanthropy and charitable giving are consistently ranked as one of the most important aspects of a client’s legacy,” said Pierre Ramadier, senior executive vice president and head of the Wealth Management Group at Bank of the West. “In the United States, almost 40 percent of philanthropists plan to leave at least a third of their wealth to charity, an encouraging sign that many Americans are driven to leave the world a better place than it was when they arrived.”

The Mindset of the American Philanthropist
American philanthropists were most motivated by personal experience with the cause at hand (43%) rather than through sense of duty, desire to give back or faith. Almost all countries were focused on “health” as the top area of philanthropic giving (United States at 60%), while Asia as a region chose “environment.” Respondents in the United States were more likely to give to local causes (24%) and they saw the best form of charitable collaboration as working with other individual philanthropists (48%), rather than partnering with philanthropic organizations, as is the case in Europe and Asia. More than two in three American philanthropists stand out for their commitment to eradicating societal problems, such as disease (68%).

Key Global Findings – “Creating Lasting Change”
The interviews with philanthropists around the world conducted through the survey illustrate how they strive to make a lasting impact. Some key global findings include:

  • Philanthropists aim high. They seek to build a sustainable program, creating or funding an organization that provides ongoing assistance (70%).
  • Advisors are necessary to achieve sustainable growth. A majority of philanthropists (61%) believe that advisors are necessary to achieve sustainable results, compared to just 16 percent who say they are not.
  • Sustainable outcomes are not possible without a continuous money flow. Securing steady, ongoing funding is the favored method of financing projects (70%).
  • Philanthropy is often an integral part of life. For half of respondents, investments, business activities and lifestyle are aligned with their philanthropic giving.
  • Working with one other philanthropic organization is by far the surest way to achieve a sustainable outcome (54%). The extremes – either collaborating with multiple entities (17%) or going solo (26%) – are seen as less effective.

Philanthropic Trends of Tomorrow
Philanthropy is transforming fast, keeping pace with global change. New ways of approaching a cause, generating funding and measuring the results are emerging almost daily. Interviews point to the following future trends:

  • Quantitative approach – The corporate approach to managing philanthropy is taking root as data and analytics are becoming more widespread in the world of philanthropy. Through quantitative analysis, philanthropists can assess potential outcomes before grant giving, as well as measure program results.
  • Philanthropists are beginning to look more like start-up entrepreneurs – As many technology entrepreneurs are switching to philanthropy earlier in their lives, they inject charitable giving with new technologies and the “coolness” factor that entices younger generations to follow their lead.
  • New ways to fund – New ways to raise money, like crowd funding, online auctions, or social media campaigns, have emerged.
  • Impact investing has a bright future – Impact investing – investing in which achieving social good is as important as financial returns – is the most promising approach for creating sustainable outcomes.

“We work with our clients every day to help them find imaginative ways to leave a positive mark on their communities and the world at large – whether they are making impact investments, funding startups that focus on socially-responsible endeavors, or finding new ways to work with other like-minded philanthropists,” concluded Ramadier.

BNP Paribas Individual Philanthropy Index Methodology
The Individual Philanthropy Index measures and reflects the commitment of philanthropists in four regions – Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the United States. The Index is derived from a survey of 457 high net worth individuals in the four regions, each with investable assets valued at $5 million or more, and was conducted by Forbes Insights in 2015, between October and December. This is the fourth edition of the BNP Paribas Individual Philanthropy Index. Interviews were also conducted with philanthropists from around the world to illustrate how they try to ensure they will make a lasting change in terms of creating impact on the ground as well as the longevity of their charitable organization.

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About Bank of the West Wealth Management Group:
Bank of the West Wealth Management provides wealth planning, investment management*, personal banking, philanthropy, and trust services. The group is part of BNP Paribas' global wealth management business of more than 6,300 professionals in 30 countries worldwide with more than $10 billion** in assets under management in the United States and €327 billion ($356 billion) in assets under management globally as of December 31, 2015.

About Bank of the West:
Bank of the West is a regional financial services company chartered in California and headquartered in San Francisco with $75.7 billion in assets as of December 31, 2015. Founded in 1874, Bank of the West provides a wide range of personal, commercial, wealth management and international banking services through more than 600 offices in 22 states and digital channels. Bank of the West is a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, which has a presence in 75 countries with 185,000 employees.

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