I think the first time I saw an Open Source project that was well funded and was using that funding to promote development was NeoVim. NeoVim was a fork of the popular Vim project, focused on reducing the cruft of the project and bringing best practices back in. Whoever was running the project was a marketing genius. He got a ton of press outlining the issues with the Vim project. But the key difference between him and a thousand of other people complaining about projects is that he launched an alternative and asked for money. This is how I got introduced to BountySource.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://benhoff.net/paying-for-open-source.html