I have finished collecting Ryder's missing memories which details important side plot information relating to how the Andromeda Initiative came about, and I was wondering who "the Benefactor" is?

From what I know of the previous games this is starting to feel like there is some kind of Cerberus influence. Is this something that is explained in game in one of the many task missions I have neglected to complete?

  • I suspect this will come into play in the next game
    – l I
    Mar 29, 2017 at 21:28

6 Answers 6


It was the intention of the game producers to not reveal the identity of the benefactor in this game:

GAMBLE’S ANSWER: “The mysterious benefactor is intentionally left unresolved, as it has deeper ties to the metastory of the MEA saga. By the time you find the killer, they’re long gone…”

The rest of this answer will contain many spoilers, so be warned.

We do get plenty of clues though, but nothing conclusive:

  1. We know that the voice is female. Yes its likely it was altered, but it didn't sound synthetic enough imo to change the sex of the speaker.
  2. The benefactor knew about the reapers long before everyone else (years before). In the last conversation between Alec and the benefactor, Alec questioned the benefactor on this point and they admitted to it.
  3. The benefactor (or one of their agents) is most likely in the Andromeda galaxy. The murder of Jien shows that.
  4. The benefactor had access to an incredible amount of money. Funding the entire initiative is not cheap.
  5. The benefactor didn't care about advanced AI. Developing that advanced AI goes against the wishes of every major council race in the milky way.

There has been much speculation online to the identity (mostly pulled from reddit threads) ordered from more likely to least likely:

  1. The Illusive Man - He meets almost every criteria, the only thing that I'm having trouble with is the fact that the initiative also brought along the other races, and if it were TIM he would have figured out a way to potentially sabotage all the arks since he was so human centrist. There's also an interesting anecdote, TIM's original name was Jack Harper...
  2. Shadow Broker - He also had the funding but not the motive. And during the time of the initiative launch, Liara hasn't taken over the job yet (or was just about to) so it couldn't have been her.
  3. Some previously unknown entity. This is my guess.
  4. Reapers - now we're just delving into wild mass guessing
  5. Geth - ditto
  • There is some grey area around the timing of the events of Lair of the Shadow Broker and the launch of the arks - both events occur in 2185 CE. The events of Mass Effect 2 conclude in 2185 CE also but there are no months... That said the Andromeda Initiative was founded in 2176 CE so you'd assume funding would have been occurring well before launch.
    – kalina
    Apr 1, 2017 at 14:34
  • @kalina well yea, it kinda takes a while to build all that stuff up.
    – l I
    Apr 1, 2017 at 15:53
  • TIM seems unlikely to me. What is the big reveal going to be? "Oh, the benefactor was some megalomaniac who died 600 years ago" Where is the dramaturgy in that? There is no payoff to this. Shadow broker, same reason. If it was Liara, I'd see it as feasible, but considering that the Initiative started earlier and Liara didn't have the resources before becoming Shadow Broker, it seems unlikely. My guess would be, it is a person, we already interacted with, who will reveal him- or herself to be much more than we thought.
    – Dulkan
    Apr 24, 2017 at 7:10

No. The identity of the benefactor is left unresolved. There are, however, clues in Alec's conversations.

  • 3
    What sort of clues? Could you add them to your answer? Mar 30, 2017 at 12:19

(Spoiler alert)

While the Illusive Man IS pro-human, he is also trying (much like councillor Udina) to prove humanities' worth to the other races. As Miranda says in Mass Effect 3, Cerberus was his answer to what the other races have. The Asari Commandos, the STG, and the Turian's had (I forget)... The Illusive man would have paid for such a trip because:

  • The Shadow Broker did not involve himself in any affair that he didn't benefit from

  • The council species wouldn't because if they truly wanted a new start, they wouldn't have involved the Krogans (except maybe the Asari... but still that's a LOT of money to invest)

  • Miranda (and Wilson if you listen to his audio before you run into him) says he invested billions bringing Shepard back to life

  • He would involve the other races to avoid being seen as racial and, as much as he disapproved of other races, he wanted them to see that humans could keep up with the other species

  • In Mass Effect 3, Shepard is introduced to classified information which reveals that EDI was the rogue VI from the moon base in Mass Effect 1, so it would only make sense that (upon finding out about Ryder's father's work) he would invest in the AI SAM, quite possibly in hopes to better understand the AI so he could control the Reapers

  • And finally, it is quite possible Jien was getting suspicious and the Illusive Man sent a man/woman (the one Alec Ryder spoke to most likely) and during the commotion she was murdered. After all, it was chaos, they wouldn't have sought her out singularly since she was murdered in her apartment (as is implied when you listen to her audio, though she says "they" but when you use Sam it only shows two figures, a man and a woman... quite possibly a couple that worked for Cerberus)


I think the benefactor is SAM and that he made the initiative in the hopes not only to save Ryder's Mother but also save as many other races from the Reapers. Still no clue as to why SAM would kill Garson though, if it was SAM at all.


I see no one mentioned the benefactor being the council... They knew of the reapers, they could siphon money for years.. and in me3 it turned out they could do near to nothing cause..guess what.. they had no money.. We see a memory of alec talking to a human ambasador who dismissed him.. and the next thing is the benefactors offer.. it could be that the councill made the initiative as a safeguard if the reapers came early..arcs came from the main 3 races, humans and it was supposed to be a multi ark.. like council space..a benefactor from one race would base the initiative on his own race..

  • 1
    The council didn't believe in the reapers until after they had arrived in the Milky Way
    – kalina
    Apr 5, 2017 at 16:56

My money was always on Illusive Man. Especially as his real name from the comic is shared with a member of your crew. Plus, he has the funds for the project. As for if he knew about the reapers before everyone else, hard to say, but he does have the motive.

That being said, there is a name no one has mentioned and that is Matriarch Benezia. She has a similar voice to the video logs (provided that voice isn't altered). She would also have known about the reapers before anyone else, similar to Saren. She was never evil to be begin with, but got indoctrinated as time went on.

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