CHIMU – Inti Raymi Fund Founder
Meet Our Founder
Inti Raymi Fund (IRF) founder David McGrain, or Chimu as he is affectionately nicknamed, is a phenomenal American success story twice over. First, the All-American boy became a highly successful businessman. Then he became a highly successful human being.
A graduate of Southern Methodist University with a degree in real estate and finance and a minor in international business, Chimu learned early that he had an unusual gift for financial affairs and economics. With those skills, he forged a 20-year career in commercial finance, banking, property, and asset management. Using fruits from that success, he began to purchase and renovate apartment complexes, amassing a substantial real estate portfolio.
Business activities took the young real estate magnate all over the globe. As he travelled, he witnessed the vast gulf between wealthy people visiting other countries and the native people they walked past without seeing, some of those people living on less than a dollar a day.
Chimu realized how important it is to not only see, but to better understand the gulf that separates human from human. He gave up reservations at the Sheraton and Four Seasons in favor of staying in the homes of people who lived in the places he visited, people he met on the streets. He made new friends – shop owners, taxi drivers, mothers selling beadwork and floating river salesmen.
As his world expanded, Chimu began to collect indigenous, tribal art. His collection grew, and he began to wonder – who made this art? Where did those people go? He began to travel to faraway countries, where he fell in love with people that had lived in the lands for hundreds, sometimes thousands of years. The nickname Chimu came from a civilization that predates the Inca and thrived in northern Peru from the 7th through the 14th centuries.
In 2010, Chimu stepped onto a bus in South America and began the first of many trips, zigzagging back and forth across the continent. For two years, he traveled, finding remote places and people disconnected from the modern world, places and people tourists never see. It was the start of an incredible learning adventure that prompted the successful businessman to look at the world in a different way.
As he talked to the people he visited, he became determined to help make life better for them. How could he help them and their cultures survive? Each of the cultures faced different issues. Each lived in vastly different circumstances. Each carried a unique heritage upon their shoulders. Chimu struggled to find a way to determine what individual communities most needed. What would serve them best?
Finally, he threw up his hands, and he realized that the people who knew best what other cultures needed were the people in the cultures themselves. The people who knew best were the people who lived every day with adversity, who knew exactly what challenges were preventing them from moving forward.
Determined to provide marginalized people with the respect, dignity, and opportunity, Chimu started the Inti Raymi Fund in late 2011. Through IRF, he began funding what he likes to call “Passion Projects” out of his own pocket. Finally developing a formula of giving that works for Indigenous Peoples and other oppressed people, he created a different way of giving for others to use – matching funds to support transparent projects that struggling communities have identified, planned, and carry out on their own.
To date, IRF has funded projects in countries in every pocket of the planet, donating more than $2 million from the private fund to help communities and people progress in their own way. And we are not stopping now. We continue to travel the planet, searching for marginalized and oppressed people fighting to survive. We strive to bring them respect, dignity and a level playing field. We work to bring them hope and a way forward.
Today, Chimu wears a large solid-gold nose ring on a necklace around his neck. Robbers stole the ring centuries ago from the grave of a man who wanted to impress those in the afterlife with his importance. The heavy nose ring thumps against Chimu’s chest as he walks, a constant reminder that you cannot take it with you when you go.
In his youth, Chimu was the Texas state weightlifting champion for multiple years and the Texas State Record Holder in Olympic Style Weightlifting.
He remains active today in the extremely challenging sport of high altitude mountaineering, with more than 20 mountains summited, including four of the seven highest summits in the world, two attempts at Everest and a North Pole skiing expedition.