Every school, museum, and struggling artist is in search for a generous benefactor, or someone to provide the financial means to keep everything running smoothly.

The Latin roots of benefactor are bene, which means "well," and facere, which means "to do" — literally, "to do well." A benefactor does well by supporting (usually financially) a person or a good cause. In the old days, a struggling artist or actor might have been supported by a wealthy benefactor. Now, many struggling artists and actors have to rely on waiting tables and other odd jobs instead.

Definitions of benefactor
  1. noun
    a person who helps people or institutions (especially with financial help)
    synonyms: helper
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    Andrew Carnegie
    United States industrialist and philanthropist who endowed education and public libraries and research trusts (1835-1919)
    Peter Cooper
    United States industrialist who built the first American locomotive; founded Cooper Union in New York City to offer free courses in the arts and sciences (1791-1883)
    Ezra Cornell
    United States businessman who unified the telegraph system in the United States and who in 1865 (with Andrew D. White) founded Cornell University (1807-1874)
    Solomon Guggenheim
    United States philanthropist; son of Meyer Guggenheim who created several foundations to support the arts (1861-1949)
    John Harvard
    American philanthropist who left his library and half his estate to the Massachusetts college that now bears his name (1607-1638)
    Milton Snavely Hershey
    United States confectioner and philanthropist who created the model industrial town of Hershey, Pennsylvania; founded an industrial school for orphan boys (1857-1945)
    Johns Hopkins
    United States financier and philanthropist who left money to found the university and hospital that bear his name in Baltimore (1795-1873)
    Andrew William Mellon
    United States financier and philanthropist (1855-1937)
    Alfred Bernhard Nobel
    Swedish chemist remembered for his invention of dynamite and for the bequest that created the Nobel prizes (1833-1896)
    First Viscount Nuffield
    British industrialist who manufactured automobiles and created a philanthropic foundation (1877-1963)
    John Davison Rockefeller
    United States industrialist who made a fortune in the oil business and gave half of it away (1839-1937)
    Commodore Vanderbilt
    United States financier who accumulated great wealth from railroad and shipping businesses (1794-1877)
    Elihu Yale
    English philanthropist who made contributions to a college in Connecticut that was renamed in his honor (1649-1721)
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    a woman benefactor
    bondsman, bondswoman
    someone who signs a bond as surety for someone else
    bestower, conferrer, donor, giver, presenter
    person who makes a gift of property
    (medicine) someone who gives blood or tissue or an organ to be used in another person (the host)
    fairy godmother
    a generous benefactor
    good Samaritan
    a person who voluntarily offers help or sympathy in times of trouble
    do-gooder, humanitarian, improver
    someone devoted to the promotion of human welfare and to social reforms
    someone who releases people from captivity or bondage
    accommodator, obliger
    someone who performs a service or does a favor
    offerer, offeror
    someone who presents something to another for acceptance or rejection
    patron, sponsor, supporter
    someone who supports or champions something
    someone who provides the means for subsistence
    deliverer, rescuer, savior, saviour
    a person who rescues you from harm or danger
    someone who refrains from injuring or destroying
    a source of help and advice and encouragement
    christ, messiah
    any expected deliverer
    one who gives up or relinquishes or renounces something
    a person who gives alms
    angel, backer
    invests in a theatrical production
    blood donor
    someone who gives blood to be used for transfusions
    emancipator, manumitter
    someone who frees others from bondage
    someone having a relation analogous to that of a male sponsor to his godchild
    a person who sponsors someone (the godchild) at baptism
    guarantor, surety, warranter, warrantor
    one who provides a warrant or guarantee to another
    Indian giver
    an offensive term for someone who asks you to return a present he has given you
    organ donor
    someone from whom an organ is taken for transplantation
    patroness, patronne
    a woman who is a patron or the wife of a patron
    altruist, philanthropist
    someone who makes charitable donations intended to increase human well-being
    settlor, trustor
    (law) a person who creates a trust by giving real or personal property in trust to a trustee for the benefit of a beneficiary; a person who gives such property is said to settle it on the trustee
    contributor, subscriber
    someone who contributes (or promises to contribute) a sum of money
    subsidiser, subsidizer
    someone who assists or supports by giving a subsidy
    a person who leaves a tip
    pillar of strength, tower of strength
    a person who can be relied on to give a great deal of support and comfort
    type of:
    good person
    a person who is good to other people
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