Nicole Systrom, founder of Sutro Energy Group, partners with philanthropists, investors and entrepreneurs to accelerate high-impact climate and clean technology solutions.

With an extensive background in environmental science and a passion for helping entrepreneurs scale breakthrough technologies, Nicole counsels philanthropists and impact investors on how to direct mission-oriented resources toward innovative clean technologies. A valued advisor to founders and funders in clean energy, Nicole has helped channel millions of dollars into the development of technology solutions in recent years.

Nicole’s passion for motivating wealth holders to support clean energy technologies means she is frequently tapped by nonprofits, foundations and family offices for her counsel on their climate-positive programs. As a board member and consultant to Prime Coalition, she helps philanthropists catalyze growth in technology startups that mitigate climate change. As an early advisor to Cyclotron Road, Nicole helped develop program and business strategies, positioning it to effectively support hard-science innovations and entrepreneurs.

In addition to Prime Coalition, she now serves on the boards of the Energy Foundation—one of the largest energy and climate philanthropies in the US—and Activate, a fellowship program forging a new path for world-changing innovators (and the successor to Cyclotron Road). Nicole is also a member of the President’s Council at Ceres, a nonprofit focused on sustainability challenges.

A published thought leader on climate-positive innovation, Nicole has written about identifying gaps in the clean tech ecosystem; building philanthropic tools for investing in climate solutions; and enabling better state energy policy. To build awareness of the climate change crisis, Nicole launched the investor education series “Investing in a New Climate” with the Stanford Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance in 2015.

Earlier in her career Nicole worked at TerraPass, a venture-backed startup, where she managed a project portfolio that reduced 250,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions across the U.S. Before that she was a fundraiser at the nonprofit Pacific Forest Trust, where she supported the development of methods to quantify the carbon stored in working forests.

Nicole holds a BS in Earth Systems from Stanford University and an MBA/MS in Environment and Resources from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family and golden retriever.


Effective Family Philanthropy in Action

Family Philanthropy Speaks: A Conversation with Nicole Systrom

Posted on May 19, 2022 by Nicole Systrom

NCFP President and CEO Nick Tedesco speaks with Nicole Systrom, founder of Sutro Energy Group. Nicole talked about philanthropy’s role in climate change as well as how philanthropic capital is catalytic to incubate ideas and build infrastructure. She also shared about leveraging peer networks, intermediaries, and other resources.  Philanthropy is a practice borne out of compassion and commitment—and one… Read More
Voices from the Field

Lessons Philanthropy Can Take From The 2021 UN Climate Change Conference

Posted on October 20, 2021 by Nicole Systrom

We’re all waiting to find out what is going to come out of COP26, the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference that starts at the end of October. For me, the dream scenario is: Just as the global climate change conference is set to take place, the US passes President Biden’s $3.5-trillion economic plan, sending an unmistakable signal to the international… Read More