The Fig Garden Rotary Club of Fresno was sponsored in 1978 by North Fresno Rotary Club. North Fresno Rotary had reached the maximum number of members its meeting place, old Pardini's, could hold. At that time, clubs had assigned to them geographic areas in which their members either lived or worked. NFR had the area north of Shields, west of Blackstone, and thus gave FGR an area north of Barstow and west of Blackstone. Because a club name generally reflected its area, "Fig Garden Rotary" was selected as the name of this new club. NFR retained the right to draw members from the FGR area. Ham Knott of NFR was the main person assigned to the FGR project. He met many times with prospective members to determine interest and get FGR up and running.
New clubs were required to have at least half of the charter members' businesses in the area. At that time, the Fig Garden area was primarily residential, with businesses on Blackstone or Bullard. FGR charter members included 3 car dealers on North Blackstone along with businessmen from Bullard/Palm and Bullard/West, which was then under development. Rotary club areas no longer exist, but the FGR's membership and history were influenced by the original area.
Charter night for 34 members was held in July 1978 at the former Hilton Hotel downtown, and meetings commenced on Fridays at the old Pardini's. Chuck Cornett was selected as charter president by the initial board. The first auction was held in Guy Gardner's Cadillac showroom in late 1978. FGR hosted an exchange student from Australia during the club's second year, and undertook its first community service project: building a par course at Bullard High School. The very first club retreat was held during the third year.