Indian schoolchildren gather around a larger-than-life cutout of Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, whose foundation focuses on solving health care problems around the world. STR/AFP/Getty Images

Indian schoolchildren gather around a cutout of Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, whose foundation supports advances in science to save lives in developing countries. STR/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. has long been known as a nation of good intentions. A new index confirms its status as the country with the most generous philanthropists within the 4 regions studied: The U.S., Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

The BNP Paribas Individual Philanthropy index measures the commitment of philanthropists with at least $5 million to invest. The results show that although the U.S. is still at the top of the heap when it comes to the amount donated or pledged to charity, the Middle East is fast catching up.

Who is the typical philanthropist?

This year, the typical philanthropist donates the most to health issues, except in Asia, where the environment is the top cause. In the U.S., 38% of donors plan to leave at least a third of their fortune to charity. In Asia, that number is 28%, followed closely by Europe at 26%.

Whatever their cause, the wealthy donors want to achieve long-lasting change. 70% say they want to establish an initiative or program that provides ongoing assistance to the cause. So it follows that the funding they seek will be ongoing, with 2 options being the creation of a self-sustaining organization or a charity that has the ability to be profitable.

To achieve a sustainable outcome, 54% of philanthropists favor impact investing and 53% support collaborative philanthropy (organizations working together for the same goal).

Philanthropists are increasingly integrating their profession in their causes, according to a statement by Nathalie Sauvanet, global head of individual philanthropy at BNP Paribas Wealth Management. “For half of respondents, philanthropy is integrated in their lives, as they have their investments, business activities and lifestyle aligned with their philanthropic goals.”

Find out how some rich and famous Americans donate to charity.

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