Chanchlani was born in Bhopal (M.P), India, to an upper-middle-class family. After completing high school in Bhopal, he went on to receive degrees from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (Masters in Industrial and Management Engineering), and an MBA from the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, Canada. He began his career with Tata Consultancy Services in India, and moved to Canada in 1979. He began working with Nortel, eventually becoming the Senior Manager of Information Services before starting his own business.
Vasu Chanchlani established his private Canadian charitable foundation, the Chanchlani Foundation in early 2000s. Chanchlani’s philanthropic efforts are guided by the motto to "inspire people and reward global excellence". He has made serious financial contributions for supporting path-breaking health and public policy research as well as nurturing entrepreneurship and leveraging New Canadians’ success and influence for deeper and gainful engagement between Canada and India.
Chanchlani has made an endowment of one million dollars to create the CIF Chanchlani Global Indian Award, an award that recognizes innovation and global leadership in the Indian diaspora. Past recipients of this honour include Ratan Tata and Sam Pitroda. Chanchlani also works with the foundation to enhance its engagement with Indian leaders such as former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Minister of Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal, economic policy-maker Montek Singh Ahluwalia, and former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Dr. Shashi Tharoor.
Chanchlanis have made a gift of $2 million to create the Centre for South Asian Civilization at the University of Toronto, Mississauga to broaden the study of traditional subjects to enhance the understanding and include active engagement of South Asian communities.
The Centre proposes to research and explore South Asian issues through the lens of many disciplines, including politics, history, religion and literature. This will help build a very deep intellectual bandwidth in Canada for world’s most dynamic economic and cultural powers. To achieve this vision, the Centre will undertake student and faculty exchanges as well as lecture series that will feature world-leading South Asian scholars, artists and public figures
Vasu is a seed contributor to the ‘India Initiative’, a joint undertaking between The University of Waterloo and the Canada India Foundation for the advancement of Canada’s research capacity in studying the politics, economy and social conditions of contemporary India, and the bilateral relationship between the countries. The initiative’s planned $10 million endowment will fund endowed CIF Chairs for Waterloo faculty members, Visiting Chairs for India scholars, CIF Fellows, graduate student fellowships, and engagement with researchers and faculty at the Centre for International Governance Innovation and the Balsillie School of International Affairs. The initiative was made possible in collaboration with CIF's National Convenor Aditya Jha, Waterloo's Dean Ken Coates and others.
Vasu and his wife Dr. Jaya Chanchlani have set up a $10 million fund (through $1 million seed) to set up the Chanchlani Research Centre at McMaster University. This Centre will encourage scientists to find environmental and genetic causes of cardio vascular diseases widely prevalent within South Asians and those of South Asian origin in Canada. He has also endowed $250,000 at McMaster to give every year Chanchlani Global Health Research Award along with $25,000 for the best global research for heart and diabetes among South Asians.
In September 2010, Chanchlani along with fellow businessmen Ajit Someshwar and Bhupinder Khalsa donated a maple-leaf-shaped monument to the Canadian Armed Forces for their exemplary service as global peace-keepers. The unveiling ceremony was attended by a large number of Canadian Armed Forces personnel in their ceremonial attire, as well as top leaders including defence minister Peter Mackay, opposition leader Michael Ignatieff, and finance minister Jim Flaherty.
Chanchlani has set up the CNIB Chanchlani Global Vision Research Award to recognize the best researcher in the field of vision care and vision enablement, world wide. The $100,000 endowment and award was announced at a special reception in Toronto on April 3, 2011.
Vasu has sponsored a student home (through AIM For Seva) in Hoshangabad, India for poor students from surrounding 25 villages to stay there. According to the website, 149 children have benefited from this hostel.Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award, 2014
Lifetime Achievement Award 2011, Global Indian Origin
South Asian Person of the Year Award 2010 - Mid Week
Entrepreneur of Year Award 2011 - Voice Weekly
30 most Influential Indo Canadians, Rediff India Abroad magazine's Power List (published September 2009)
Winner, Top 25 Canadian Immigrants 2010
Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year - Finalist Award for 2001
Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce Technology Achievement Award for 2002
Co-Founder & Board Member, Canada India Foundation
Desi News Grant's Community Achievers Awards (2009)