Debian pays its bills. There's no reaching here, Debian's model involves large numbers of volunteers. We know it works because - voila, Debian. But it's also clear that this model doesn't produce Ubuntu, it produces Debian. Which is nice, if you like that sort of thing.
But you can't say "I will take this distro's resources, and assert that it could be combined with this other distro's philosophy and produce this third distro's product" because there's no reason to believe that works.
The existence of Ubuntu doesn't prove that Debian style volunteers could produce a Fedora alternative but with long term support, any more than the existence of oil-rich Saudi Arabia proves that desperately poor Ethiopia could become lush green New Zealand.
Maybe that's not a great analogy, but hopefully it makes my point.