CROATIAN HERITAGE FOUNDATION (HRVATSKA MATICA ISELJENIKA – HMI) was founded in 1951. Today it operates under the jurisdiction of the Law on the Croatian Heritage Foundation that was adopted by the Croatian Sabor (parliament) at its sitting held on 28 December 1990, following the democratic changes in Croatia. The internal organisation of HMI is regulated by a Statute that was adopted by the Board on 6 February 1992. With that document HMI is defined as the central, national institution to conduct social and economic activities of significance to the Croatian immigrant community and Croatian minority communities in other countries; for immigrants from Croatia and Croats who live and work abroad but were born in other countries as well as members of their families who live abroad.
Practically, based on experience in the past period and on changes that have occurred in the country, the immediate environs and the world as well as adapting its activities to progress experienced in immigrant communities, HMI prepares specific cultural, educational, sporting, publishing and informative programmes earmarked to the entire Croatian immigrant population. HMI pays particular attention to each and every Croatian community outside the homeland, regardless of the period or reason for immigrating; social, cultural or any other criteria. Namely, immigrants with Croatian ethnic-cultural roots – of whom it is estimated there is about 3.5 million in some fifty countries – HMI does not consider as a united group that can be approached and communicated with in the same way. We are aware that this corpus consists of a mosaic of diverse communities who live in harmony with the conditions of their new homeland while at the same time striving to preserve a part of their original identity.
That is why HMI, by fulfilling its mission of being the focus of Croatia’s immigrant being, strives to develop and motivate a strong, multi-levelled and consistent dialogue with Croats abroad and their descendants in an attempt to mediate with facts that speak about the contents of our self-existence, historical events and personalities, natural beauties and monumental heritage; contemporary events and the people that motivate and partake in them…everything that occurs or is done that constitutes the Croatian homeland and people as the focal support of our identity. At the same time HMI acts to preserve our national heritage and the ethnic-cultural identity of Croatian minority communities in other countries. It strives to respond to specific requests and demands by Croatian associations and individuals outside Croatia so that the work of this institution can be adapted to the needs and wishes of our people in the world.
Again, based on contemporary, current challenges, HMI partakes in humanitarian, ecological, reconstructional and development programmes initiated through civil society, state administration and regional/local self-government units, contributing to the diversity and dynamics of social dialogue in Croatia and between the homeland and Croatian immigrant communities.