The role of a patron individual or organization is to support with money, efforts, endorsements or encouragement the efforts of another individual or institution. Patrons support endeavors in many different fields, including the arts, commerce, politics, charity, sports, science and religion, explains Reference.com.
From ancient times, artists have been dependent on the benevolence of patrons. Wealthy patrons provided the means by which painters, musicians, writers and other scholars in the Roman era, medieval times and the Renaissance could continue their work. Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Shakespeare all had patrons. In politics, patronage involves the ability of powerful leaders to appoint people to key positions, some of which are lucrative financially as well as influential. In commerce, regular customers of shops, hotels and other establishments are known as patrons, because they contribute to the fiscal well-being of the commercial entities. Non-profit organizations, such as charities, often seek patrons not only for financial help, but also for the prestige of their affiliation with the organization. Regular attendees at a team's sporting events are known as patrons, as they support the team with their admission fees and their enthusiasm.
In religious organizations, such as the Catholic Church, patron saints are devout Christians who have died and gone on to intercede for the faithful still on Earth. Patron saints are adopted as special intercessors by individuals, organizations and areas. Patron saints are chosen for their affinity to their supplicants. For example, they grew up in a particular region, they had a similar name, they held a certain occupation or they cared for those with specific diseases.