I have faced it in the text below:
...But something drove Pullman to his own cost; his benefactions nearly ruined him.
Richard Sennett, Respect in a world of inequality, Penguin, p.130.
This is about railroad owner, George Pullman, the eponymous developer of the railroad sleeping car and owner of Pullman, Illinois, a company town for his workers. Pullman owned and controlled everything in his town, which he expected to be a profit center for his company. The town provided parks, schools, and much better housing and residential services than the urban tenements of the day. But Pullman couldn't give up the control that ownership provided him, and he couldn't give up the plan to squeeze a profit out of the town. These two factors drove him to a disaster: during a financial panic, he reduced wages but not charges. This led a a bloody strike that was a disaster for Pullman. (That was the cost.) His good works and intentions (the benefactions), as undercut as they were by his despotism and gouging, were nearly ruinous for his enterprise.