The New Community Commons – FAQs

On December 31, the old Community Commons will close and will reopen as a brand new, exciting site on January 7, 2019. We know you have questions, and that’s okay. Check out some of our FAQs below, and if you have other questions feel free to reach out at!

Why are you making these changes?
Great question! Over the years, open data has exploded, making it easier for communities to access tools that power change and advance equity, but improving communities requires more that just access to great data – which is where the new version of Community Commons comes in. We know that data without context are just noise, there is need for an infrastructure of connection among those creating a culture of health and equity. And with that knowledge, there is so much more that can (and should) be done to leverage our collective impact. So, in an effort to remain ahead of the curve in this ever-changing landscape, we’re taking a risk and heading down a slightly different path than what you may be used to seeing on the Commons. We believe this is the best way to assure that data is free and accessible to all changemakers and that all contributions to the Commons benefit the entire community.

Read more here.

Will it still be free?
Our goal is that data and information be available to all regardless of ability to pay. We also want to assure a modern, easy-to-use website that is sustainable. So, we will be asking for donations in the form of a choose-your-own-price membership. A person can choose $0 or $1 million dollars.

Will I need to re-register?
Yes. If you already registered with Community Commons in the past, you will need to reset your password in January.

Will maps still be available?
Of course! Maps are a crucial part of the Commons. You can anticipate a newly-designed Map Room. An early version will be released January 7th. We will continue to improve it as we go.

Will my saved maps and reports still be available?
Unfortunately not. Now is the time to download and save all of your previously created maps. Check out this quick how-to on downloading maps and reports from your hub or profile.

Will data still be available?
Absolutely. We are in the process of rebuilding the data repository to be more modern, open, accessible, and to include an API. This is a priority but will take time.

By January 7th: Some basic data will be available in the Map Room including: American Community Survey Data demographic variables, Mortality indicators, Cancer data, and a few others.

By March 7th: Over the next few months, we will be building the repository back-up to be ready for a well-rounded community indicator report.

Our friends at the Center for Applied Research and Engagement Systems (CARES) will also have mapping and reporting tools available.

Will I still be able to run community indicator reports?

Yes, but not right away. The release date for this feature is March 7th. We are accepting input now on community indicators, if you have a wishlist shoot us a message at If you need certain indicators, we recommend running your reports before December 31, 2018. There, you will get a look at the updated report tool by our partners/friends at the Center for Applied Research and Engagement Systems (CARES).

Will there still be blogs and stories?
Yes! Sharing bright spots and lessons learned from the field through stories is at the heart of what we do. We’ll continue to write, and ask that you consider doing the same!  Join our growing network of voices- Click here to sign up, or click here to learn more. 

Where’s my Hub?
Many of the Hubs previously hosted in Community Commons have moved to the Engagement Network. Browse the Center for Applied Research and Engagement Systems (CARES) Engagement Network Hub Directory and explore the awesome data and tools being used by partner organizations, agencies, and foundations to drive better decisions and healthier communities. Some Hubs have decided to sunset their contracts and are no longer available via Community Commons or the Engagement Network. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

What changes can I expect?
  • A whole new way to save favorites and collect stories and maps
  • Modern data visualizations
  • More granular data
  • A way to connect data to solutions and stories
  • A friendly support Otter(!) and additional user-support
  • Are you a developer or a data wonk? We’re working on new ways to build tools, access data, and add your mark to the Commons
  • Ongoing improvements based on user feedback