The Benefactor is an unidentified individual or group who secretly helped fund the Andromeda Initiative. The Benefactor's existence was known only to Jien Garson, Alec Ryder, and a handful of other Initiative members prior to the Initiative's launch to Andromeda in 2185.
Mass Effect: Andromeda Edit
Despite being a billionaire and having access to numerous wealthy investors to fund the Andromeda Initiative, Jien Garson ran out of money before she could complete the project. It was then that the Benefactor introduced itself to Garson and offered to pay for the rest. Garson accepted, and the Benefactor became a "silent partner" in the Initiative known only to a select few, providing unlimited funds for the project. Garson later began to question the Benefactor's intentions.
The Benefactor was also instrumental in enlisting disgraced Systems Alliance officer Alec Ryder into the Initiative. At the time, Alec was working to complete his AI SAM, which he intended to use to cure his wife's terminal medical condition, but after the Alliance learned of his illegal AI research, he was dishonorably discharged and ran out of money and contacts. The Benefactor offered to give Alec all the money he needed to finish SAM if he joined the Initiative, and like Garson, he accepted.
When the Nexus arrived in the Heleus Cluster in 2818, Garson was awoken shortly before the Nexus struck the Scourge and chaos ensued. She learned that another unidentified Initiative member associated with the Benefactor was trying to kill her, and hid in a secret room in an apartment in an inactive area of the station, where she recorded what she knew about the Benefactor. She was killed soon after, and the Nexus leadership assumed her death was related to the Scourge impact and did not investigate.
Pathfinder Ryder later learns of the Benefactor when SAM's encrypted memories are unlocked, and investigates Garson's death. Ryder confirms that Garson was murdered and the Benefactor ordered her death to silence her. In a later memory, Ryder uncovers the Benefactor's motive for backing the Andromeda Initiative: the Reapers. Before the Battle of the Citadel in 2183, the Benefactor had already suspected an impending threat to civilization in the Milky Way, and Commander Shepard confirmed it by revealing the Reapers and their 50,000-year cycles of extinction. While the Citadel Council dismissed Shepard's reports, the Benefactor believed them and pushed to finish and launch the Andromeda Initiative earlier, before the Reapers could strike, to make sure that some of the Milky Way's people would survive and make a new home in Andromeda. However, Alec's audio logs question the Benefactor's intentions and why they remained hidden.
- The Benefactor's identity is intentionally left unresolved as it has deeper ties to Mass Effect: Andromeda's metastory. According to Producer Mike Gamble, "[b]y the time you find [Jien Garson's] killer, they're long gone."